smart city

Rajasthan has submitted a Smart City plan for three cities – Udaipur, Ajmer and Kota, to the Urban Development Ministry, reports the Financial Express. The investments proposed for developing these three cities are Rs 1,493 crore for Kota, Rs 1,300 crore for Ajmer and Rs 1,221 crore for Udaipur.

The Ministry of Urban Development of Rajasthan will also submit a plan for Jaipur with a proposed investment of Rs 2,403 crore. Overall, the state plans to invest a total of Rs 6,457 crore in five years, for developing these four cities.

Approval for smart city plan: In August, the Minister of Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu approved 98 cities of the initially submitted 100 cities, to participate in the Government’s smart city plan for the country. The cities were provided with a December 15 deadline to submit their proposals. The government would then pick the first batch of mission cities for financing this year. According to the minister, these 98 cities covered a population of 13 crore people or around 35% of the urban population.

However, according to an ET report, as of yesterday, only 17 smart city proposals had been submitted. Other than Rajasthan, Jalandhar and Ludhiana in Punjab, Ranchi in Jharkhand, New Town Kolkata, Bidhannagar and Durgapur in West Bengal, Kochi in Kerala, Davanagere, Tumkur, Hubli-Dharwad and Shimoga in Karnataka, Bihar Sharif in Bihar and Oulgaret in Puducherry have submitted proposals.

Issues over local autonomy?

Pune was also set to provide a green light for its smart city plan after a general body meeting held yesterday. However, city corporators were apprehensive about not having adequate representation on special purpose vehicles (SPV). The SPV (pdf) is be responsible for the implementation of the smart city plan and will appraise, approve, release funds, implement, manage, operate and monitor the smart city development projects.

According to MP Vandana Chavan, “In the docket placed before the civic meeting, it is mentioned that the municipal commissioner will chair the SPV. But the Smart City guidelines said it will be either divisional commissioner, district collector, municipal commissioner or chief executive officer. What if the state government decides to appoint the divisional commissioner? Which means PMC loses its power.”

Interestingly in September, the Pune Municipal Corporation had collected suggestions from over 125,000 families in a week, with answers to questions like ‘What should be the vision for Pune” and “What are the 3 big issues you currently face in the city.” This was part of the ‘Pune Smart City Challenge- Stage 2’, where 350,000 physical forms were distributed to societies in the city to get suggestions.