Lucknow tops 2nd smart city contest: Why it's a fine balancing act by NDA

The government on Tuesday announced the names of 13 more cities that will be developed under the Centre's 'Smart City Mission' with Lucknow in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh topping the list, followed by Warangal in Telangana and Dharmashala in Himachal Pradesh.

Twenty-three cities with the higher rankings from as many states and Union terrritories, which failed to get representation in the first round of a competition held in January, participated in the 'Fast Track Competition', the result of which was announced by Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu today.

Of these 23 cities, only 13 could qualify for the smart city projects through the fresh competition.

Other cities, which won this round, were Chandigarh, Raipur (Chhattisgarh), New Town Kolkata, Bhagalpur (Bihar), Panaji (Goa), Port Blair (Andaman and Nicobar Islands), Imphal (Manipur), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Agartala (Tripura) and Faridabad (Haryana).

"The 13 cities selected in the Fast Track Competition have proposed a total investment of Rs 30,229 crore. With this, the
investment proposed by 33 cities (20 cities announced in January and 13 cities today) under the smart city plans is now
Rs 80, 789 crore," Naidu told a press conference.

Seven capital cities -- Patna (Bihar), Shimla (Himachal Pradesh), Naya Raipur (Chhattisgarh), Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh), Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh), Bengaluru (Karnataka) and Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) -- which were not included in the 100 cities shortlisted for the competition will be able to participate in the next round with other cities, the minister said.

Also, one out of Meerut and Rai Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh and another out of Jammu and Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir would also be selected for evaluation under the mission, he added.

According to a ANI report, Naidu said in order to become eligible, the participating cities bettered the quality of their smart city plans. For instance, Lucknow enhanced its smart city proposal by 19 percent.

Representational image: Reuters

Representational image: Reuters

As many as 23 cities with the highest ranking from as many states and union territories, which failed to get representation in the first round of competition held in January participated in the 'Fast Track Competition'.

Only 12 states and UTs were represented in the first list of 20 mission cities announced in 'Smart City Challenge Competition' on January 28.

The 23 cities which competed under Fast Track Competition include Warangal (Telangana); Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh); New Town Kolkata; Panaji (Goa); Pasighat (Arunachal Pradesh); Dharmashala (Himachal Pradesh); Faridabad (Haryana); and Raipur (Chattisgarh); Bhagalpur (Bihar); Shillong (Meghalaya); Namchi (Sikkim); Port Blair (Andaman & Nicobar Islands); Diu (Daman & Diu); Oulgaret (Puducherry); Silvassa (Dadra & Nagar Haveli); Imphal (Manipur); Ranchi (Jharkhand); Agartala (Tripura); Kohima (Nagaland); Aizawl (Mizoram) Kavaratti (Lakshadweep), Dehradun (Uttarakhand) and Chandigarh.

Those cities which miss out in the Fast Track Competition would be able to participate in the next round of competition with other cities.

Balancing act

Commenting on the second list of cities, Arindam Guha, Senior Director, Deloitte in India, said it complements the earlier list of 20 cities. "Now Bihar is included and so is West Bengal," he said.

Anuj Puri, Chairman & Country Head, JLL India, said with the latest addition of 13 more cities, the smart cities mission has made inroads into 25 states/ UTs in the country.

"If we were to look at the Smart city and AMRUT qualifying cities together, they account for close to 70% of the total urban population of India," he said adding the latest list is a good mix of prominent industrial and cosmopolitan cities along with, state capitals as well as Tier 3 and 4 cities and bodes well for a holistic approach to developing existing cities as Smart Cities.

"The geographic spread of the new list also shows encouraging signs of development being also focused towards the eastern and north-eastern part of the country where infrastructure development is vital, in line with Modi’s vision to develop the east," he said.

In the Fast Track Competition, four cities are from BJP- ruled states -- Harayana, Chhattisgarh, Goa and Jharkhand --while five cities in states, which are under Congress rule or its allies -- Manipur, Puducherry, Mizoram and Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.

Bhagalpur city in Bihar, where JD(U), RJD and Congress are coalition partners, Warangal in Telangana ruled by Rashtra Samithi; and Lucknow in Samajwadi Party-ruled Uttar Pradesh, among others, are also contesting in this round.

In the first round announced in January, 13 cities out of the total 20 mission cities were from BJP and its allies ruled states of Odisha, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab, whereas two cities from Congress-ruled state of Karnataka.

Kochi in Kerala, which went to CPI(M)-led LDF in the recent assembly election, and Guwahati in Assam, where BJP has dethroned Congress, were also selected in the first round of the competition.

Two cities--Chennai and Coimbatore--from Tamil Nadu, where AIADMK government was re-elected in recent assembly elections, and NDMC area of AAP-ruled Delhi were also selected in the first round of the mission.

The models

However, Guha said what is more important is the kind of models individual cities adopt for procurement and implementation.

"We are already seeing widely varying models with some cities going for 2 packages, one for the PAN city solution and the other for area development. Certain other cities are in the process of appointing a single project management unit which would then support them in procurement of specialised solution providers in areas like solid waste management, water supply, sanitation etc," Guha said.

Explaining the rationale, he said PAN city solution is for all citizens not confined in particular area in the city. An example is the bill payment solution which can be used by any citizen from anywhere. The second part is the area development plan, which is limited to a pilot area in the city. it doesnt cover the entire city.

"While the second method is engineering and construction heavy, the first one is more information technology heavy," he said.

What is required is finding out the right solutions for the local problems which are likely to be different for different cities.

What is a smart city?

Assured water and power supply, sanitation and solid waste management systems, efficient urban mobility and public transportation, IT connectivity, e-governance and citizen participation are some of the highlights of the smart city project.

Under the Smart City Mission, 100 cities across the country will be developed as smart cities by 2019-20 with the Union government providing financial support to the extent of Rs 48,000 crore over five years.

While 20 smart cities were selected during 2015-16 as per the Mission guidelines, another 40 would be selected during 2016-17 and the remaining 40 during the next financial year.

Each city selected in different rounds of competition will be given central assistance of Rs 200 crore in the first year and Rs 100 crore each during the subsequent three financial years.

State governments and respective urban local bodies will provide matching funds to the same amount.

With PTI

Updated Date: May 24, 2016 16:40 PM