Smart Cities selected in the first round of the City Challenge competition and their respective state governments were today asked by the Ministry of Urban Development to ensure launch of implementation of smart city projects by June 25th this year marking the first year of the launch of Smart City Mission.
Rajiv Gauba, Secretary (Urban Development) spoke to the Chief Executive Officers of Special Purpose Vehicles set up for implementation of smart city plans and Municipal Commissioners of 16 Smart Cities and Mission Directors and senior officials of 9 respective state governments through video-conferencing and urged them to ensue launch of projects by June 25th. During the two hour long interaction, Gauba reviewed the progress in respect of conversion of Smart City Plans of these cities into specific projects for tendering and awarding of works.
Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Assam that account for the remaining four smart cities have been kept out of the review as assembly elections are in progress in these cities.
Gauba ascertained progress by each city in respect of putting in place institutional mechanisms, transfer of central grants and share of respective states to SPVs, preparation of Detailed Project Reports for calling tenders etc. Each of the 16 cities furnished details of projects being prepared in respect of Area Based Development including Retrofitting and Redevelopment and ICT based Pan-city solutions.
While urging the Smart Cities to ensure appointment of full time CEOs for the Special Purpose Vehicles, he urged them to look beyond the IAS cadre given the shortage of officers and choose professionals for heading SPVs.
On hearing the responses of different cities, he complimented them for innovative thinking and initiatives like mobile governance, LED lighting, Smart Classrooms, Open Air Gymnasiums etc.
Naresh Kumar, Chairperson of New Delhi Municipal Council informed that substantial groundwork has already been done for the launch of projects by June this year. These include ; roof top solar systems, smart grids, e-Waste centres, 24 X 7 water supply and water quality sensors, mobile governance, multi-utility ducts, 20 MW Solar Power Plant, Smart Control Centre etc. He informed that a provision of Rs.400 cr for Smart City Project has been made in the Budget for this financial year.
Cities that participated in today’s review are: Visakhapatnam and Kakinada (Andhra Pradesh), Belgavi and Hubbali-Dharwad (Karnataka), Pune and Solapur( Maharashtra), Ahmedabad and Surat (Gujarat), Jaipur and Udaipur (Rajasthan), Bhopal, Indore and Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh), Bhubaneswar (Odisha), Ludhiana (Punjab) and NDMC.
Under the Smart City Mission, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 25 last year, the first batch of 20 selected smart cities have proposed a total investment of over Rs.48,000 cr over the next four years. The Central Government will provide an assistance of Rs.500 cr for each city while the respective States and urban local bodies will provide an equal amount. Rest of the required resources have to be mobilized through convergence of all schemes of central and state governments, PPP, Municipal Bonds and borrowings from financial institutions.