Smart Cities | Transport lead, waste & water disposal, safety in back burner

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Public Transportation in Smart Cities
Public Transportation in Smart Cities

New Delhi: As cities move ahead in accomplishing ‘Smart Cities’ mission, urban transport has gained topmost investment priority. Ironically, water and waste disposal and safety to solid waste management have taken a backseat with cities rushing to meet the mission.

The urban housing ministry that presented a study to the parliamentary standing committee has shared that a total of 99 cities are part of this mission. It is expected that approximately 2 lakh crore worth of investment will be made with over Rs 33,000 crore (16.6 per cent) is proposed for urban transport. This clearly hints that urban transport gets the highest share over other issues.

Incidentally, solid waste management is a very concerning issue for most urban cities. But interestingly, only 2.4 per cent (Rs 4,896 crore) of the total investment is spent towards solid waste management. Another important insight is that even the investment on storm water drainage and social sectors is very low that comes to around 2.5 per cent (Rs 5,100 each) for each of the listed areas.

Couple of core components of Smart City infrastructure elements also comprises of assured electricity supply, efficient urban mobility and public transport, sanitation including solid waste management, affordable housing and safety and security of citizens, assured electricity supply to name a few. Whilst a lot of of these components are also covered and funded through other programmes like AMRUT and Swachh Bharat Mission, cities were free to take account of them also under the Smart City programme.

Area based development comes seconds to urban transport and is also the second most important in term of priority of investment in the programme. The proposed investment is around Rs 30,600 crore. As part of area based development, cities pick and choose one area and develop it fully so that the model can be replicated in all other parts of the city.

Major highlights as per ministry are-

  • 3,183 projects worth Rs 1.45 lakh crore are in various stages of implementation.
  • Projects worth Rs 4,960 crore have been completed.
  • Work has started on other projects worth Rs 23,000 crore while the tendering system is in progression for the rest.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has floated one of the flagship programmes -Smart City Mission.  The time duration fixed for the programme is five years that is 2015-16 to 2019-20 as per the Mission statement and guidelines, which add that it may be continued subsequently after an assessment. The first lot of 20 cities was selected on January 1, 2016.

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