Smart City Mission comes as one of the most ambitious projects by the government of India and over the last few months the development towards a smarter city have only accelerated indicating the fact that it is one of the most funded missions by the government. With many provisions being made for a hassle free involvement of private entities, this year’s budget even saw many perks for those eyeing to invest on a smart city mission.
One of the flagships missions by the Ministry of Urban Development, Smart city Mission comes as a bold initiative to propel economic growth and facilitating a decent life to its citizen through its Smart solutions such as e-governance, energy and waste management, urban mobility etc.
If we go by the numbers, there are a total of 60 cities under Smart city mission which were selected based on the plans submitted and the total cost of these projects amount to 131,762 Cr., which is a not petty number.
While the ambitions and targets are high, let’s go through a quick scroll on what has been the recent updates since the beginning of 2017 in various smart city projects, the cities listed in alphabetical order.
With an aim of setting up WiFi facilities at 40 different locations in the city, Aurangabad is trying to stay up the game. A part of Smart City project, if the facility is set in place, it would keep the people on the move connected. The hotspot installed is reportedly set to give internet access to persons in a radius of 25m.
The places aimed for installation are markets, bus stands, gardens, other commercial places, important junctions and other public areas. However, it is still not clear if this facility would be available for free or on a revenue generation model.
It is worth noting that the civic body had recently planned projects worth Rs 1,730 crore under the smart city scheme.
In the wake of making the city smart, the Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited started a people-connect programme with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) at Jagannath slum.
The MoU signed would facilitate capacity building, sharing of knowledge and self-defense training of girls in slums. Total of eight slums in different phases have been targeted for the development under smart city mission. And if reports are to be believed, this project has been allocated a sum of Rs 1.6 crore, which is indented to initially run till the end of December 2017.
One of the best known smart cities in India that made it to the list of 13 smart cities in the second phase of fast-track completion in May 2016, is now all set to get a world class Smart City innovation centre. Bringing twenty big companies such as Microsoft, Google, IBM, Cisco, Intel, Nokia (et.al) together on one platform, these are slated to roll out plans for the smart city project.
The center, if all goes well, would be operational from the Punjab Engineering College in Sector 12 of Chandigarh by the first week of April 2017 and the technologies displayed by the companies would be for a display once the innovation center is developed.
Set with an aim to offer smart solutions for the better infrastructure and a cleaner environment, the center would be designed with all latest technologies to improve upon services like public safety, transport, traffic management, waste disposal, e-governance etc. The smart city project by the Chandigarh Administration will be developed in three zones.
In a recent development, the Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation has identified nearly 1,317 acres in the city that can be redeveloped under the new Smart city proposal, which will be sent to the Union urban development ministry for third round of Smart City Mission. Ghaziabad had earlier lost out on previous two selections.
Demarcating certain areas of the town such as portions of Vasundhara, Vaishali and Kaushambi townships under the Area-Based Development component of the proposal, the Pan-City Solutions would have a focus on developing eco-friendly urban transportation and intelligent traffic management system.
As a part of the Smart City project, the city intends to install air and water quality monitoring systems at 56 locations across the city by June 2017. The city has already installed real-time air pollution monitoring system at three locations.
By monitoring and displaying air pollution parameters including oxides of sulphur and nitrogen, these air pollution systems have been playing a big role in monitoring air pollution. These smart systems can also track the levels of particulate matter suspended in air, i.e. PM10 as well as PM2.5.
Apart from this, areas of the old city such as 650 acres of the Walled City, Albert Hall and Jorawar Singh Gate have been in for Area-based development.
It is also worthwhile noting that the Jaipur Municipal Corporation, has reduced the budget of Prime Minister’s ambitious smart city project from Rs 50 crore to Rs 20 crore.
The first ever development under the smart city mission would come in the form of the first ever concrete road from Lady Hill Circle to PVS Junction that is about to go smart. A proposal put forward by Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) budget would have Rs two crore set aside for the project. Drawn on the concept of TenderSURE roads, it would also be implemented on Bengaluru and other cities.
Some of the features of the smart road would be pothole free road, solar panel-enabled street lights, neatly painted medians, provision for underground cable ducts, cross drains under the main carriageway, CCTV surveillance and more. It is also planned to be made dust-free.
To give a glance at Smart city project and urban development, two-day Karnataka Smart City Project workshop was also organized earlier his month.
Eyeing to be the world’s first city to have a city-wide WiFi connectivity, Pune has roped in technology giants like Google, IBM, Larson & Toubro and RailTel, that would provide the said facility based on freemium model. Reportedly a sum of Rs 150 crore has been allocated for this smart city initiative.
A Special Purpose Vehicle designed by Pune city administration called Pune Smart City Development Corporation (PSCSCL), would oversee the smart city feature and capabilities.
These companies would implement various smart city initiatives such as city-wide WiFi, environmental sensors, public address system powered by digital mode, emergency call boxes, enhanced network connectivity and more.
Google would deploy its Google Station platform that has an inbuilt WiFi network management capability. RailTel would provide last-mile connectivity using optical fiber, L&T would be the master system integrator helping Google and RailTel integrate every aspect together. Whereas IBM would facilitate the hardware and software capabilities.
Stressing on completing the beautification of the town at the earliest, it is clear as to how the state officials want Shimla to be a part of the Smart City mission.
Working a step towards it, Himachal Pradesh government has suggested to build the first ‘smart hill town’ of the country near Waknaghat in Solan district. Aiming to utilize the 450 bighas of land which is already available, the boost also comes from Singapore government who have agreed to invest Rs 2,500 crore in this project.
The smart hill town is planned to be built in a way that provides abundant opportunities to education as well as businesses in hospitality, health and wellness. Designed to have facilities of international standards, the idea of this smart hill is to create new planned settlements so that a more balanced distribution of population is achieved.
Given the fact that the government has allocated Rs 597 cr under the Smart City Mission for Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara, they are quite clear on their plans to be the one amongst the smartest cities in the country.
In addition to this, the state government had earlier given a nod for the formation of the special purpose vehicle, which forms a crucial part of the Smart City Mission projects. Tentatively named Vadodara Smart City Development Ltd., the implementation of Smart City Mission at the city level will be done by the SPV.
Few things it is assigned to do are- planning, appraising, releasing funds, implementing plans, managing and evaluating the Smart City development projects.
Stay tuned for more updates on smart city mission in India….