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Housing minister Hardeep Puri: Next set of 10 smart cities to be announced soon

Nearly 3000 projects worth Rs 1.40 lakh crore at various stages of implementation

Vandana Ramnani @vandanaramnani1

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

Charting the progress of the mission, the union minister said that the Smart Cities Mission is progressing at a brisk pace. 90 cities have been selected so far. The selection of ten more cities will be announced shortly. There are about 3000 projects worth Rs 1.40 lakh crore at various stages of implementation.

“These will have a ‘lighthouse’ effect. Other cities and regions around them will soon start undergoing transformation towards becoming centres of urban excellence,” Puri said.

“We have finished the paperwork. The committee that had to evaluate the requests has finished its work. As many as 15 cities had applied out of which 10 will be selected. The announcement will be made in the next few days,” he told Moneycontrol on the sidelines of the Smart Cities Summit 2018 organised by FICCI.

“By June 2018 you will see the physical contours of these processes…, he said.

The 15 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 ( (Lakshwadweep) and Diu (Daman and Diu), sources said.

Puri said that urbanisation in India, or for that matter anywhere in the world, brings with it a host of challenges, from pollution to lack of civic amenities like drinking water, sewage, and electricity. “We stand today at an inflection point in urban transformation. India's Smart Cities Mission, was launched by the government of India to provide impetus to this urban transformation process,” he said.

He said that 90 cities that have been selected so far, have identified projects worth Rs 1.40 lakh crore. Projects worth more than Rs 20,000 crore are either under implementation or completed. Tenders for projects worth Rs 16,000 crore have been called, and more than Rs 1 lakh crore worth of projects are being readied for issuance of tenders.

He also informed the audience that Bhubaneswar smart city plan was adjudged as the best city plan by American Planners Association. “This is also the first time that cities have created an institutional mechanism (SPVS) at the city level. Till now 82 SPVs have been formed and considering the capacity gaps existing at cities, this is not a small achievement by any standards,” he said.

The 90 smart cities have proposed to leverage the fund by 2.5 times through internal revenue mobilisation, value capture financing, the municipal bond issue among other things.

“Cities need to work as start-up and leverage their financial resources. Smart city mission has been heralding this transformation,” he added.

The 100 Smart Cities Mission was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 25, 2015.
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