6 cities in NE struggling to get Smart City tag – aabtak24


New Delhi, Mar 13, 2023, Special Correspondent

Six cities in the northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim are lagging behind the townships chosen by the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry to be declared Smart Ciities.

The Ministry had set June as the deadline for these towns to speed up projects, but they are far from the target.

These six cities in the NE region were among the 20 cities caught napping when the Union Urban Affairs Secretary Manoj Joshi held a review meeting recently to assess the progress.

In view of the tardy progress of projects envisaged as part of the programme, the Centre has offered them help to meet the deadline.

“The cities have been instructed and offered guidance to complete the projects within the stipulated time frame,” said an official.

The cities in the northeast are Guwahati, Shillong, Imphal, Aizwal, Pasighat and Gangtok.

The Narendra Modi government launched its flagship Smart Cities Mission on June 25, 2015, and 100 cities were selected for redevelopment through four rounds of competition from January 2016 to June 2018.

Agra, Varanasi, Chennai, Pune and Ahmedabad are among the 22 cities that will complete all projects under the government’s ambitious Smart Cities Mission by next month.

In the remaining 78 cities selected under the mission, the ongoing projects are expected to be completed in the next three-four months, a senior official of the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry said.

According to the ministry, the mission’s objective is to promote cities that provide core infrastructure and give its citizens a decent quality of life and a clean and sustainable environment, besides adopting “smart solutions” to various issues.

In the lagging North-Eastern cities, among the projects proposed were those meant to improve walkability, construction of multi-level car parks, smart water and electricity metering, solid waste management, including RFID-tagged garbage bins, and new landfill sites.

The 22 smart cities where all projects will be completed by March are Bhopal, Indore, Agra, Varanasi, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Coimbatore, Erode, Ranchi, Salem, Surat, Udaipur, Visakhapatnam, Ahmedabad, Kakinada, Pune, Vellore, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Madurai, Amaravati, Tiruchirappalli and Thanjavur.

The implementation of Smart Cities Mission at the city level is done by a special-purpose vehicle. These SPVs plan, implement, operate, monitor and evaluate their Smart City projects.

Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Kaushal Kishore told the Rajya Sabha recently that as on January 27 this year, out of 7,804 projects worth Rs 1,81,322 crore for which work orders have been issued in the 100 smart cities, 5,246 projects worth Rs 98,796 crore have been completed.

The central government has released Rs 36,447 crore under the mission, of which Rs 32,095 crore (88 per cent) has been utilised.

According to the mission guidelines, the central government will provide financial support to the extent of ₹ 48,000 crore over five years, on an average Rs 100 crore per city per year. An equal amount on a matching basis will be contributed by the state government or urban local body.

The ministry has said that currently, there is no proposal under consideration of the government for adding more cities under the Smart Cities Mission.


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