Finally, India’s Smart Cities Mission is on the right track and is progressing well. Eighty five out of 90 cities have already incorporated their special purpose vehicle (SPVs) and 61 cities have procured project management consultancies (PMCs); another eight cities are in various stages of hiring their PMCs.
With more and more cities now equipped with a team of consultants and administrative teams, the Ministry is expecting speedy progress over the next six months.
Smart City Mission is setting a new benchmark in terms of project implementation. In duration of two years, which is a small period in terms of urban development life-cycle, the mission is picking up momentum. There has been more than 350 per cent increase in the value of 'completed projects' and 230 per cent increase in ‘work started projects’ over the last six months.
Smart cities are implementing state-of-the-art innovative ideas in their projects. These are bringing about unprecedented improvement in the quality of life of people.
Smart city centres have become operational in four cities, namely Pune, Surat, Vadodara and Kakinada, and work is in progress in another 18 cities. Tenders to develop such smart city centres have been issued in 11 more cities. In Rajkot, for instance, after deployment of surveillance system, a part the smart city centre, crime-incidents have reduced by 17 per cent, from 3,068 in 2016 to 2,554 in 2017; the city administration was able to completed 906 rallies/public meetings/VVIP movements during election period last year without a single incident of violence or disruption. Integrated traffic management has increased the traffic speeds and reduced traffic congestions. Surely, it has helped in cleaner air for people to breathe.
Meanwhile, street redesign projects have visual impact with provisions for cycle tracks and footpaths, promoting non-motorized transport. Here, 32 cities have issued tenders, and work has begun in 17 of them. In Pune Street redesign project, in an 8-km-stretch, a pilot section of 1.5 km has being developed has improved accessibility for elders, dedicated spaces for pedestrians and bicycle users, and beautification of the space by creating sitting zones and installation of public art with CSR funds has been very well received by citizens.
Similarly, for smart reuse and wastewater projects 33 cities have issued tenders, and work has begun in 16 of them. In order to promote renewable energy usage in our cities, projects of about 250 MW for providing Solar projects on rooftops of government buildings are already installed. Till date, 44 cities have issued tenders, and work has begun in 38 cities. Most of these cities have completed their projects.