Govt announces 9 new smart city projects with Rs12,824-cr investments

The government on Friday announced the addition of nine more cities to its smart city project, with approximately 409 projects and proposed investment of Rs12,824 crore.

Minister of state for housing and urban affairs Hardeep Singh Puri announced the winning cities in the fourth round of the National Smart Cities Challenge.

This takes the total number of such cities to 99 with total proposed investment of Rs203,979 crore.

Silvassa from Dadar and Nagar Haveli topped the list of winning cities in this round of competition. Other winning cities are Erode (Tamil Nadu), Diu (Daman and Diu), Biharsharif (Bihar), Bareilly (Uttar Pradesh), Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh), Moradabad (Uttar Pradesh), Saharanpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Kavaratti (Lakshwadeep).

''It is heartening to note that the winning cities have improved the quality of their Smart City proposals by 19 per cent (average) to become eligible for selection. Each city has developed a unique vision and has selected an area (ABD) which will be developed as a lighthouse, to be replicated by the city,'' the minister said while addressing the media on Friday.

''The nine cities selected have proposed an investment of Rs12,824 crore, of which Rs10,639 crore would be in Area Based Development (ABD) and Rs2,185 crore in Pan City initiatives, which would be impacting 3.53 million persons living in these areas,'' he said.

Puri said, ''Smart roads, rejuvenation of water bodies, cycle tracks, walking paths, smart classrooms, skill development centres, upgradation of health facilities and Pan City Projects which include integrated command control centre and ICT based municipal services,'' are part of the 409 project proposed to be undertaken in these nine cities.

Funding for these projects will be provided by central and state governments (61.25 per cent), Convergence (24.19 per cent), PPP (12.90 per cent), own sources (1.57 per cent), and other sources (0.09 per cent).

Previously, 20 cities were selected in January 2016, 13 cities in May 2016, 27 cities in September 2016 and 30 cities in June 2017. With the addition of these nine cities, the total proposed investment in the 99 Smart City projects would be Rs2,03,979 crore.

Puri said so far 85 out of 90 cities already selected have incorporated their SPVs and 61 cities have procured PMCs while another 8 cities are in various stages of hiring their PMCs. With more and more cities now equipped with a team of consultants and administrative teams, we can expect the progress in the start of work in projects to grow exponentially, over the next six months.

''Smart City Mission is setting a new benchmark in terms of project implementation. In duration of 2 years, which is a small period in terms of urban development life-cycle, the mission is picking up momentum. There has been more than 350 per cent increase in the value of 'completed projects' and 230 per cent increase in 'work started projects' over the last six months. Smart cities are implementing state of the art innovative ideas in their projects. These are bringing about unprecedented improvement in the quality of life of people,'' Puri pointed out.

He said Smart City Centres based on advanced technologies have become operational in four cities like Pune, Surat, Vadodara and Kakinada and work is in progress in another 18 cities. Tenders to develop such Smart City centres have been issued in 11 more cities.

In Rajkot for instance, after deployment of surveillance system, a part the Smart City Centre, crime-incidents have reduced by 17 per cent, from 3,068 in 2016 to 2,554 in 2017; the city administration was able to completed 906 rallies / public meetings / VVIP movements during election period last year without a single incident of violence or disruption. Integrated traffic management has increased the traffic speeds and reduced traffic congestions. Surely, it has helped in cleaner air for people to breathe, the minister said.

Street redesign projects have visual impact with provisions for cycle tracks and footpaths, promoting non-motorised transport. While 32 cities have issued tenders, and work has begun in 17 of them. For example, in Pune Street redesign project, in an 8 km stretch a pilot section of 1.5 km has been developed with improved accessibility for elders, dedicated spaces for pedestrians and bicycle users, and beautification of the space by creating sitting zones and installation of public art with CSR funds.

Similarly, for smart reuse and wastewater projects 33 cities have issued tenders, and work has begun in 16 of them.

In order to promote renewable energy usage in cities, projects of about 250 MW for providing solar projects on rooftops of government buildings are already installed. Till date, 44 cities have issued tenders, and work has begun in 38 cities. Most of these cities have completed their projects.

As of 17 January 2018, nearly 2,948 projects worth Rs1,38,730 crore are in various stages of implementation. 189 projects worth Rs2,237 crore have been completed, and implementation is underway for 495 projects with a cost of Rs18,616 crore. Furthers tenders have been floated for 277 projects with a cost of Rs15,885 crore while 1,987 projects worth Rs1,01,992 crore are at DPR stage.