New Delhi: One year after the announcement of the plan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched projects under the smart cities mission in Pune, officially kick-starting the ambitious project of the National Democratic Alliance government.
Projects with a total investment of Rs.2,900 crore were also launched on Saturday in states including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT). These projects include sewerage projects with an investment of Rs.1,275 crore and water supply projects at a cost of Rs.817 crore.
“The smart cities concept is a big people’s movement. I am seeing that the implementation has been successful. There is an enthusiasm to make their city come first through the competition. This government is holding competitions to move forward and looking for ways to do so,” said Modi at the launch.
He said that this is an attempt to bring development through a new perspective.
Projects launched in Pune include slum rehabilitation, street and pedestrian walkway, modern buses with alternative fuels, traffic demand modelling project and city common mobility card. Pune stood second in the selected cities.
PM Modi added, “We should not treat urbanisation as a problem but as an opportunity. If we start thinking about the future we will be able to change it into an opportunity. Cities have the power which are seen as the growth centres. Where there is poverty, people move to cities in the hope of jobs. It is our responsibility to enable cities to become centres of growth and development for the poor.”
Projects were launched in 20 cities selected in the first batch of mission through a city challenge competition. Chief ministers of selected states including Vasundhara Raje (Rajasthan), Naveen Patnaik (Odisha) and N. Chandrababu Naidu (Andhra Pradesh) also addressed through video-conference.
In his address, urban development minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said, “There is a new urban renaissance that is taking place. Cities are trying to be smart. Cities are smart in making people’s lives comfortable and cities liveable so they can act as light houses for the other cities. There is tremendous interest in people and they are willing to participate.”
Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, addressing the audience at the launch said, “This smart cities mission has taken care of the poor and stands for inclusive governance. This will transform cities.”
In January, 20 cities were selected in the first phase. The government had included 13 more cities in the first phase in May.
Ahmedabad has launched sewage treatment plant, housing project, smart learning in municipal schools.
Bhubaneswar, which topped the list in the city challenge, has launched a railway multi-modal hub, traffic signalisation project and urban knowledge centre. In New Delhi Municipal Council, a mini-sewerage treatment plants, 444 smart class rooms, WiFi, smart LED streetlights, city surveillance, command and control centre have been launched.
PM Modi also inaugurated the ‘Make Your City SMART’ contest aimed at continuing citizen participation in the planning. Suggestions and designs suggested by the citizens will be incorporated by respective smart cities. A Smart Net Portal was also inaugurated by PM Modi which enables the cities under different urban missions to share ideas and source solutions for various issues during the implementation of various missions.
The Smart Cities mission, a pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was launched in June 2015 with the government releasing the guidelines and mission statement for the 100 Smart Cities project. The mission has been allotted a budget of Rs.48,000 crore for five years.
“With the building blocks for most of the Smart City plans being similar, there is a significant opportunity for City Administrations to learn from each other and share experience & innovative practices. The proposed Smart Net Portal should be a good platform for this cross learning to happen, with innovative mechanisms like crowd and community sourcing thrown in to maximize the pool of ideas which have the potential to fast track implementation,” said Arindam Guha, senior director, Deloitte India.