Pune, Solapur among first batch of 20 smart cities

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            New Delhi, January 28 : The Government today announced the 20 winners of the Smart City Challenge competition for financing during this financial year. Announcing the cities here today, Minister of Urban Development Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu said that the winners were from 11 States and the Union Territory of Delhi and the selection was totally objective and transparent based on standardized processes.

            Shri Naidu further said that Smart City Mission marks a paradigm shift towards urban development in the country since it is based on ‘bottom up’ approach with the involvement of citizens in formulation of city vision and smart city plans and the Urban Local Bodies and State Governments piloting the mission with little say for the Ministry of Urban Development. He also observed that it was for the first time in the country and even in the world that investments in urban sector are being made based on competition based selection of cities.

            Informing that 1.52 crore citizens participated in shaping smart city plans of 97 cities and towns in the first round of competition, Shri Naidu said that this enthusiastic participation of people is a major positive outcome.

            3 cities from Madhya Pradesh, two each from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan and one each from the remaining five made it to the winning list.

            The Minister informed that 23 States and UTs who could not make to the list of winners will be given an opportunity to participate in a ‘fast track competition’. Each top ranking city form these left out states can upgrade their smart city proposals and submit them by April 15, this year for inclusion in the mission.

            Shri Naidu informed that the 20 winning cities and towns have proposed a total investment of Rs.50,802 cr over five years with all the cities proposing Public-Private-Partnership as a major vehicle of resource mobilization. 10 of the 20 cities have proposed to mobilise Rs.8,521 cr under PPP model while others have also indicated this option. A total area of 26,735 acres has been identified by these cities for making them smart through necessary interventions.

            Elaborating on the advantages of Smart City Mission, Shri Venkaiah Naidu said that this leads to integrated urban planning by addressing the issue of infrastructure, land use planning, transport, urban design and architecture in a holistic manner unlike in the past. Stating that building a smart city is not a destination but a series of small steps in that direction, Shri Naidu said that the country has taken one such step today.

            The Minister said that urban local bodies are taking a quantum jump to improve their capabilities and have resorted to SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of each city for coming out with city vision.

D S Kulkarni, chairman and managing director of the DSK group, said, “Declaring Pune as a smart city is a welcome step and one of the landmark decisions of the central government. Now, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), State Government and Puneites should avail the opportunity and derive benefits out of it. This is the right time for pitching Pune on the global map and it is Puneites alone who will have to bear the responsibility after the government for elevation and making   Pune as a truly global city. The PMC should lay special emphasis on the four key points viz. cleanliness, cultural importance, discipline and education hub while remodelling Pune as an international smart city. The geographical location and topographical spread of Pune is conducive for its development as the smart city. All the stakeholders should jointly promote and strengthen the core educational and cultural importance of Pune while the city metamorphoses into a smart entity. Funds or money alone cannot determine the growth and development of Pune as a smart city. There is a need to change unclean landscape, ensure futurist and eco-friendly planning for social good and quality life for every Punekar.”

 Rohit Gera, MD, Gera Developments & VP, CREDAI – Pune Metro, said, “This move will benefit one and all. Pune Real estate sector will be impacted positively with an impetus to the infrastructure growth as well as the economic activity for Maharashtra. It’s very encouraging to note the attention given by the central government to Pune in particular while deciding the smart cities. We are optimistic that these actions will boost capital mobilisation, generate additional funds for realty projects, demand for housing and lead to an overall positive impact on GDP growth through the positive cascading rub off to the allied industries.”

Mr. Gera further added that, “The concept of smart city is something that is extremely relevant in today’s scenario of crumbling infrastructure in our rapidly urbanizing cities. Creating this smart cities initiative as a competition amongst cities is a highly innovative and exciting way to engage the stakeholders to participate in improving the quality of life for the citizen of each of the cities. Given the current situation in the cities the quantum of funds required to truly convert cities into smart cities as envisaged will require for more than the amount of money currently set aside for this project.

As cities become more live-able there is a greater demand for people to set up businesses in those cities as well as greater demand for people to come and live. This has a direct correlation and impact on the demand for housing and office sector in the cities. This is a competition amongst countries for investment, amongst the states within the country and now amongst the cities as well. This certainly bodes well as cities compete with each other vying for investment to improve the overall infrastructure of the city.”




            The 20 smart cities announced by Shri Venkaiah Naidu were :


Rank City State
1 Bhubaneswar Odisha
2 Pune Maharashtra
3 Jaipur Rajasthan
4. Surat Gujarat
5 Kochi Kerala
6 Ahmedabad Gujarat
7 Jabalpur Madhya Pradesh
8 Visakhapatnam Andhra Pradesh
9 |Solapur Maharashtra
10 Davanagere Karnataka
11 Indore MP
12 New Delhi Municipal Council Delhi
13 Combattore Tamil Nadu
14 Kakinada Andhra Pradesh
15 Belagavi Karnataka
16 Udaipur Rajasthan
17 Guwahati Assam
18 Chennai Tamil Nadu
19 Ludhiana Punjab
20 Bhopal MP


            Of these 20 cities accounting for a total population of 3.54 crore, 5 have  population below 5 lakhs each, 4 in the range of 5-10 lakhs, 6 in between 10-25 lakhs, 4 between 25 and 50 lakhs and only Ahmedabad has above 50 lakhs.