Under the holistic vision towards bolstering the image of Agra as a truly tech-driven city, a number of noteworthy projects are being implemented across the length and breadth of city’s Area Based Development (ABD) region. Agra’s smart city proposal totals to around Rs 21.33 billion, out of which Rs 13.65 billion is envisaged to be done using smart city funds and PPP and the rest Rs 7.68 billion through convergence, which comprises of 23 projects under smart city and 17 projects under convergence.
Arun Prakash, CEO, Agra Smart City, says, “Work orders for 15 projects have already been issued and tenders are already in process for other projects. Under Smart City Mission, a total 18 projects are covered in ABD area, and in pan-city, a total of five projects. In addition to smart city projects, there are other departments working under different schemes. The total project cost as per the smart city proposal is Rs 21.33 billion.” He added: “As on dates approximately Rs 40 crore has been spent.”
Smart City proposal of Agra defines another heritage precinct called Taj Improvement District (TID). It envisions retrofitting of 2,250 acre of selected local area – Taj Mahal and area comprising Tajganj, Agra Fort, Jama Masjid and Fatehabad road till inner ring road. With an envisaged outlay of Rs 16.99 billion under ABD and Rs 4.34 billion under Pan-city spread over the next five years, TID aims to revive the historic relationship of the micro commerce with the monument.
The retrofitted areas are imagined to become a new socio-economic engine for the Taj experience. The proposal revolves around mainly street improvement, beautification, decorative flyovers, murals and some facade improvements in the old city and lacks a comprehensive approach towards making provisions in conserving the heritage precinct defined in the Smart city proposal.
That said, as part of the unique initiative aimed at preservation of urban morphology walk, the heritage walk is proposed to be conducted around the old market area comprising of the little known as well as art and culture of Agra like marble inlay, Zardosi work, and flower market. The total cost of the project is Rs 3.14 crore.
The project, which is aimed at enhancing the image of ‘Street Vending Zones’, entails providing facilities and designated place for the street vendors as well as tourist to enhance the experience of Agra streets and food, flowers and other markets. As part of this project, the following locations have so far been identified: near Amar hotel, towards Vibhav Nagar; Vishal Mega Mart, Fatehabad road, Basai Sabji Mandi, towards 100 ft road.
Under the ‘Junctions Improvement’ project, being executed at an estimated cost of Rs 6.97 crore, junctions at Bijli Ghar, Agrasen Taj view crossing, Basai chowki crossing, TDI mall junction, Hotel Marriott crossing, Jaypee hotel junction and Tiraha Junction (Taj east) are being given a complete makeover. The development work at all these locations includes: new signage, pavement marking, median, roundabout, landscaping, signals, channeliser, and earthwork wherever required. Also, in a bid to beautify the area around the city’s major landmark—Taj Mahal—the project of tree illumination at Taj east and west gate is in full swing. The total project cost is Rs 6.56 crore. Further, the work is in full swing on street-scaping and beautification of Fatehabad road in the ABD area. The Fatehabad road has much more significance than just being considered as a connecting road to the city. Once completed, the project will help actualize the following objectives:
- It would relieve congestion across ABD area and beyond
- It would provide better linkage to the radial arterial roads
- It would provide improved access to Taj Mahal
- It would improve connect between the new urban nodes outside/ nearby ones
Another important project being implanted under Agra Smart City Mission is the Solar Installation on Renewable Energy Service Company (RESCO) mode. Being implemented at a total Project cost of Rs 2.65 billion, the implementation of this project will lead to significant reduction of conventional fuel and help in the reduction of carbon emissions also. This would also lead to a substantial reduction in power bills of the building owners. For this, says Prakash, “we are working with the understanding that 3 MW solar power plant would be required to generate 4.4 MU of electricity and 24,000 sq m area is required to set up 3 MW solar power plant.”
Other major projects are providing 24/7 water supply integrated with SCADA systems and sewerage system in entire ABD area, Sewerage System in ABD area , rehabilitation of all major and minor roads in ABD area, solid waste management in ABD area, etc.