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Expect some smart cities to be ready by June next year, says Hardeep Puri

The minister said the ten remaining smart cities will be announced by the end of January.

The next set of 10 smart cities for funding under the Smart City Mission is expected to be announced by the end of January and there will be some smart cities on the ground by June, Union housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Friday.

“Since 2015, 90 cities were selected in three rounds of National Smart Cities’ Challenge," Puri said at a national workshop on Accelerating Implementation of Urban Missions: AMRUT and Smart Cities. "75 cities have established the Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) to support implementation of the Mission. As many as 59 of the 90 cities have already hired project management consultants who will support in DPR and RfP preparation."

Proposals from 15 cities have been received for the fifth and the final round of the mission, while five cities have not submitted their plans. These cities are competing for 10 spots.

Applications were open until November 30 this year. Cities that have sent their proposals include Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh), Biharsharif  (Bihar), Amravati (Maharashtra), Erode and Dindigul (Tamil Nadu) and Moradabad, Meerut, Sharanpur, Bareilly, Rampur, Rae Bareli and Ghaziabad (Uttar Pradesh), Silvasa (Dadra and Nagar Haveli), Kavarati ( (Lakshadweep) and Diu (Daman and Diu), officials said.

Three cities from West Bengal — Bidhannagar, Durgapur and Haldia — Shillong (Meghalaya) and Greater Mumbai (Maharashtra) are among the cities that have not submitted their proposals under the scheme. The West Bengal government has announced that it will not participate in the Centre's Smart City programme.

“Work is currently going on in hundreds and thousands of projects but I think by June 2018 you will see the physical manifestation of smart cities," Puri said. "Integrated Command and Control Center projects enable fast and efficient citizen service delivery in an integrated way, are being developed in 20 cities. It has become operational in cities like Pune, Surat, Vadodara and are producing positive results. Ten more cities have issued tenders for developing command and control centres in their cities.”

Officials said some smart city projects could be visible on ground by June next year. These may include Bhopal, Pune, Vizag, Kakinada, Baroda, Ahmedabad.

Three new competitions on the anvil are 'AMRUT Plus'; Indian Smart Cities Programme funded by World Bank; and 'Smart Cities Leveraging Program' funded by French Development Agency (AFD).

The World Bank and AFD have evinced keen interest in providing funds, which could help State/Cities leverage their funding requirements.

“Under AMRUT Plus, $1.5 billion of World Bank assistance would be provided to the selected States based their reform action plan. The India Smart Cities Programme is a $500 million project wherein 12 cities would be selected from four states based on the implementation of various milestones under the Smart Cities Mission. The AFD is providing assistance of 100 million Euros wherein 15 selected projects would be funded,” Puri said.

To give recognition to quick achievers and leaders in innovation, this ministry had announced The India Smart Cities Award Contest (ISAC) in April 2017 with an entry deadline of April 25, 2018. The aim of the contest is to sustain the sense of competition between the Smart Cities and measure the impact and quality of Smart City projects. ISAC will recognize and reward cities, projects and innovative ideas that promote sustainable development in urban areas, as well as stimulate inclusive, equitable, safe, healthy and collaborative cities, thus enhancing quality of life for all.

“A Project Award will be given to the most innovative and successful projects across seven categories that are completed by April 1, 2018. Evaluation will be based on three aspects - innovation, impact and replicability or scalability. An Innovation Idea Award will be given to recognise exceptional innovation in any of the seven identified categories or crosscutting themes,” the minister said.

As for smart cities raising funds through municipal bonds, Puri said Pune has raised Rs 200 crore and many other cities too have plans. “I am familiar with Hyderabad's efforts. The minister there told me that there are on their way to raise  Rs 1,000 crore through municipal bonds,” he said.

Till date, the housing and urban affairs ministry has announced 90 cities under the scheme and each city will get Rs 500 crore as central assistance for implementing projects. The government aims to develop 100 smart cities under the scheme. The Smart Cities Challenge promoted an increase in participatory activities and means of citizen engagement at the city and neighbourhood levels. More than 24 lakh citizens were consulted through MyGov website and almost 120 lakh through other means.

Vandana Ramnani
Vandana Ramnani
first published: Dec 8, 2017 08:36 pm