The Central government today announced 13 more Smart Cities from as many states. Lucknow topped the list of winners of the Fast Track competition conducted for 23 cities.
The cities that participated in the competition improved the quality of their Smart City plans to become eligible for selection. With the selection of these 13 cities, the total number of cities to be covered under the Smart City Mission stands at 33 now. It is expected that another 40 would be selected during 2016-17 and the remaining 40 during the next financial year.
These 13 cities were selected on the basis of the marks scored by them in the Fast Track competition and the benchmarks set by the top performers in the first round of the Smart City Challenge competition, in which the first 20 cities were selected from among 98 mission cities.
These 13 cities have substantially improved their Smart City plans by addressing the deficiencies identified in the first round of the competition. They have addressed gaps in infrastructure and baseline service levels, ensured consistency between citizens’ aspirations and action plans, formulated more feasible resource mobilisation plans and have provided a coordinated and an integrated picture of how individual projects will contribute to area level changes.
Assured water and power supply, sanitation and solid waste management systems, efficient urban mobility and public transportation, IT connectivity, e-governance and citizen participation are some of the highlights of the Smart City project.
Lucknow, that missed the list of the first 20 Smart Cities, improved the quality of its Smart City plan by 19 per cent to make it to the list. Other winners of the Fast Track competition were: Warangal, Telangana (13 per cent improvement); Shimla, Himachal Pradesh (27 per cent); Chandigarh (9 per cent); Raipur, Chhattisgarh (25 per cent); New Town, Kolkata, West Bengal (11 per cent); Bhagalpur, Bihar (25 per cent); Panaji, Goa (9 per cent); Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Islands (26 per cent); Imphal, Manipur (27 per cent); Ranchi, Jharkhand (27 per cent); Agartala, Tripura (25 per cent) and Faridabad, Haryana (12 per cent).
Other cities that participated in the Fast Track Competition were: Namchi, Sikkim that ranked 14, Aizawl, Mizoram (15); Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh (16); Dehradun, Uttarakhand (17); Kohima, Nagaland (18); Oulgaret, Puducherry (19); Silvassa, Dadra, Nagar & Haveli (20); Kavaratti, Lakshdweep (21); Diu, Daman & Diu (22) and Shillong, Meghalaya (23). The government has asked these cities to submit their revised Smart City plans for evaluation in the second round of regular competition which will be underway by the end of June 2016.
Meanwhile, there was a tie between Meerut and Rai Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Srinagar in J&K which will be resolved by allowing these cities to participate in the Smart City competition. One city from each of these two states will be selected based on the quality of its Smart City plans.
Seven capital cities left out of the Smart City Mission will also be allowed to participate in the competition. These cities are: Patna, Shimla, Naya Raipur, Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh), Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh), Bengaluru and Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala).