Smart Cities List: Mumbai, Jaipur, Lucknow in, Kolkata, Bengaluru out
- 5th Aug 2015
All union territories (including the capital Delhi) and a majority of state capitals including Mumbai, Jaipur, Vijayawada, Lucknow, Raipur, Guwahati and Bhubaneshwar have found a place in the Smart Cities list, while others like Bengaluru, Patna and Kolkata are among the notable absentees in the list of Top 100 nominations.
According to informed sources, several big cities have not made it to the list due to stringent selection norms that are based on an objective mechanism that also looks at a city's capability to implement projects and generate their own resources. It's a move towards transparency and fair competition where none can influence the selection process.
Based on this, several lesser known cities and municipal areas such as Shivamogga (Karnataka), Moradabad and Saharanpur (UP) and Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh) have been nominated to the list by their respective states.
As part of the first phase of the Smart Cities scheme, the central government will select 20 cities in the first year followed by 40 each in the subsequent two years for central funds amounting to INR 500 crore spread over the next five years. The monies will be utilized to fund the transformation of the selected cities and municipal areas into Smart Cities, as envisaged in the programme.
As per the scheme guidelines which are based on a sustainable and inclusive model of development, the focus is clearly on promoting the development of cities which can ensure a good quality of life for their residents in a clean and sustainable environment supported by adequate infrastructure and 'smart' solutions.
Speaking at a recent seminar M. Venkaiah Naidu, the union minister for urban development, further revealed a special emphasis would be on promoting participation by citizens in the development of these smart cities. He further reiterated that sustainable and inclusive urban development is the main focus of the government and there was a need to go for reforms in a big way.
Kota gears up:
Meanwhile several cities in the list have already taken a headstart in the race to achieve the smart city objectives. In Kota for example, which is to be developed as an ultra-smart city, new dimensions are now being added in its urban planning. New schemes, reassessment of pending projects are also likely to be taken up on a war footing while improved mobility and reduction of congestion is at top priority.
The state has already taken up several big projects to improve infrastructure and connectivity issues says Rajpal Singh Shekhawat, Rajasthan's urban development and housing (UDH) minister.
Projects on the anvil include Kota's northern bypass phase I project which is expected to be completed while plans for Phase II have already been sent to Delhi for approval, work on the stalled Chambal Bridge has also been restarted, UTI has been asked to transfer INR 590 crore for the construction of rail bridge.
According to Shekawat, the government has also completed the review exercise of the work done by municipal councils in Jaipur, Jodhpur and Kota, while the work undertaken by UTI has also been reviewed.
The National River Conservation Programme with sewage issues that was taken into consideration will be finished in the next two years, while the government hopes to provide housing for the poor in the state by 2021.
Vadodara not far behind:
Elsewhere in Baroda (Gujarat), the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) plans to acquire 500 acres of land to develop the city, as part of its smart city initiative. The corporation recently hosted a special at the VMC office on Smart City and AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) Mission where criteria and basic requirements for developing a smart city were discussed in detail.
According to the VMC Commissioner H S Patel, VMC was the first in the state to submit the necessary data to the government and the civic agency had expedited efforts to make Vadodara a Smart city. "Our city meets almost all criteria set by the Centre. We have included one more criteria as arts and culture, in light of the rich tradition of performing and fine arts in the city," he said.
"The Smart City project envisages Vadodara as a 'sensitive, modern, affordable, robust infrastructure and technology-driven' city in the future. We want our city to be free from slums, traffic issues, pollution and disease," Patel affirmed.