- Published: 11 May 2022
Bhopal, Surat, Bhubaneswar, Udaipur, Ahmedabad, Varanasi and Indore are set to be declared India’s ‘first set of smart cities’. Seven years after launch of a flagship urban renewal mission to make 100 cities sustainable and citizen-friendly, the seven cities from Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh will be showcased as such cities by the end of the year.
The Smart Cities Mission, launched on June 25, 2015, to ‘smarten up’ cities with eco-friendly hi-tech solutions to urban problems, is in its last year of implementation. The mission period ends in June 2023. Of the 100 cities, the seven have taken a lead with most projects completed. Bhopal has completed 92% projects, Surat 82.44%, Udaipur 78%, Bhubaneswar 76%, Indore, Varanasi and Ahmedabad 70%.
The cities are expected to complete the remaining work by the yearend. Five of the seven cities with maximum completed projects are in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan, which will see elections by 2023 end.
In the final year of the mission, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs is concentrating on bottom 40 cities facing implementation problems. “We believe in our ability to solve problems collectively which is why we conduct implementathons every month – interactions between cities facing similar problems. Therein we troubleshoot issues and help each other chart future course of action,” Smart Cities Mission director Kunal Kumar told ET.
The mission has faced severe criticism for pace of project completion. However, the ministry has maintained that big-ticket projects in cities were new ideas that took time in getting off the ground. In 2021-22, the ministry followed a tough approach to ensure all cities issued work orders for all planned Smart City Mission projects.
The ministry told the cities that if work orders were not issued, they would need to fund the projects themselves. “We have followed a disciplined, time-bound approach for starting project implementation on ground, which is why by March 2022 we have been successful in achieving work orders for almost projects,” Kumar said. The approach helped as the work orders issued doubled in March. In January, work orders worth Rs 4,800 crore were issued, February Rs 6,200 crore which doubled to Rs 12,500 crore in March alone.
Autor(en)/Author(s): Nidhi Sharma ,
Quelle/Source: The Economic Times, 04.05.2022