New Delhi : The union government is aggressively working on its dream project of developing Smart Cities in the country. In a move which takes the project a step further, centre has identified and released the top 20 Smart Cities list on Thursday. These shortlisted cities, with Bhubaneswar at the top, have been finalized through a ‘challenge’ (read competition) among the 97 contenders.
The scheme of going forward with this program is thus — each selected city would be given Rs 500 crore over a period of five years by the Centre with the respective states expected to make the matching contribution. Selection of these cities would be accomplished on factors, such as – implementation framework, feasibility and cost-effectiveness, result-orientated approach, citizen participation, smartness of proposal, strategic plan, vision and goals, evidence-based city profiling and key performance indicators and processes followed to reach to fulfilling the criteria. Each of these parameters have been allotted points, which would be summed up and the math would be thus worked out.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi failed to make it to the list. Reason — Varanasi ranked way down at 96th position, only ahead of Dehradun which stood at the bottom of the list. However, BJP and associated parties, which constitute a part of NDA-led government in centre, have found place in selection at their respective state-ruled governments too, as 10 cities that have been picked belonged to states ruled by the PM Narendra Modi-led NDA government.
Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bhopal as also the NDMC area of Delhi feature in the select list. Cities of Jaipur, Surat, Kochi, Jabalpur, Visakhapatnam, Solapur, Davanagere, Indore, Coimbatore, Kakinada, Belagavi, Udaipur, Guwahati and Ludhiana are the other cities selected in the first batch. Eventually, an alltogether of 100 cities are to be developed into Smart Cities as per Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious program. For this, the Centre has earmarked Rs 48,000 crore and the states will have to contribute an equal amount.
The Smart Cities program sounds promising on features like — strong infrastructure with water and power supply, sanitation and solid waste management systems, efficient urban mobility and public transportation, IT connectivity, e-governance and citizen participation.