The latest list -- including 12 state capitals -- takes the number of cities chosen so far to 90 under the Smart City Mission.

Thiruvananthapuram tops new list of 30 for Smart City Mission
news Smart City Saturday, June 24, 2017 - 07:45
Written by  IANS

The central government on Friday announced a new list of 30 cities to be developed into 'smart cities', with Kerala capital Thiruvananthapuram topping the list.

The latest list -- including 12 state capitals -- takes the number of cities chosen so far to 90 under the Smart City Mission. 

In the new list, the Kerala capital is followed by Chhattisgarh's new capital Naya Raipur. 

The winter and summer capitals of Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu and Srinagar respectively, also feature among the chosen ones.

The other state capitals are Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh), Patna (Bihar), Bengaluru (Karnataka), Shimla (Himachal Pradesh), Dehradun (Uttarakhand), Aizawl (Mizoram), Gangtok (Sikkim) and Gandhinagar (Gujarat). 

"A total of 45 cities contested for 40 available Smart City slots but only 30 were selected to ensure feasible and workable plans that match the aspirations of the citizens, as directed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi," Urban Development and Housing Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said while announcing the new batch of smart cities at a National Workshop on Urban Transformation in New Delhi. 

The central government launched the Smart City Mission on June 25, 2015, to develop 100 smart cities in five years.

Though the government was expecting to announce the names of 40 cities, non-participation of Bengal and failure of some city municipal bodies to score minimum required qualifying mark during evaluation brought the numbers down.

Naidu said these 30 cities identified on Friday entailed investment of Rs 57,393 crore, including Rs 46,879 crore for ensuring core infrastructure in areas identified by citizens, and Rs 10,514 crore for technology-based solutions, service delivery and utilisation of infrastructure.

With this, the total investment approved for 90 cities has gone up to Rs 1,91,155 crore, he said. 

Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh), Bihar Sharif (Bihar), Diu (Daman and Diu), Silvassa (Dadra and Nager Haveli), Kavaratti (Lakshadweep), Navi Mumbai, Greater Mumbai and Amaravati (Maharashtra), Imphal (Manipur), Shillong (Meghalaya), Dindigul and Erode (Tamil Nadu), Bidhannagar, Durgapur, and Haldia (West Bengal), Meerut, Bareilly, Ghaziabad, Sharanpur and Rampur (Uttar Pradesh) are the 20 cities that will fight to fill the remaining 10 slots. 

Naidu said the remaining cities will submit their revised plans for the 10 slots.

The 30 smart cities named on Friday propose to build affordable housing projects benefiting the urban poor, and/or school/housing projects, and smart road widening projects, besides enabling cycling and walking.

Denying that the Smart City Mission is elitist, the Minister said it is based on a shared vision of citizens and respective city governments and not imposed by the Centre.

He said the mission cities are choosing relatively small areas to start with for addressing infrastructure deficit. 

Elaborating, Naidu said Vellore in Tamil Nadu has been chosen for developmental works for 55 per cent of the total city area, 24 per cent in Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh) and 20 per cent in Kalyan-Dombivili (Maharashtra), whereas in several cities it was more than 10 per cent of the total city area. 

In terms of population, areas chosen for development accounted for 85 per cent of the total population in Dharamsala, 38 per cent in Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh), and 33 per cent in Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), he said. 

"Integrated command and control centres will be developed in these cities for coordination among city agencies for better service delivery and effective management of scarce resources like water and power."

The Minister said such command and control centres of Pune and Nagpur will become operational on June 25. 

The Minister denied that the Smart City Mission is only a playground for global technology players. "Less than 25 per cent of the cost of smart city plan will be spent on technology-based pan-city solutions, precisely to prevent the mission from becoming primarily technology-driven."

Naidu said that while only 39 per cent of 3,138 basic urban infrastructure projects approved during 2005-14 under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission were completed in time, 47 per cent of the 11,705 projects approved in last two years will be completed by stipulated deadline of 2019-20.