'Centre has not clarified what smart city means'

  • Neeraj Santoshi, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: May 02, 2015 18:39 IST

The 100 Smart City Project that was cleared by the Narendra Modi government on Wednesday includes five cities - Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior, Burhanpur and Jabalpur - from the state, but not many here know about the transformation.

According to retired bureaucrat and urban planner, MN Buch, what entails a smart city is not clear.

“Will it be a place where people will wear three-piece suites? What it means in Bastar and what it means in Bhopal? The government has not cleared what exactly a smart city means. Secondly, if a smart city means an island of opulence, 10 years down the line, poor people from rural areas will flock to such cities and lakhs of slums will ring it.”

Buch said the best the government should have done was to strengthen the administrative capacity of civic bodies, which would ensure progress in such projects.

“Also, Rs 100 crore per city per year is peanuts. The budget of a local civic body is ten times this amount here,” he added.

Urban development and environment minister Kailash Vijayvargiya, however, said technology used in smart cities would be used to improve civic amenities, delivery of public services and ensure faster access to information related to various services and amenities will be easily available.

“For example, we would like to see how we can use information technology to smoothen the traffic system in the city. GPS technology will be used in the traffic sector, which will give the policy makers and traffic managers an idea what needs to be done to improve the traffic,” said Vijayvargiya.

He further said all smart cities of the state will also have Wi-Fi facility.

Whether Rs 100 crore per year for every city was enough for the transformation, the minister said apart from Centre, local bodies and the state government will also contribute financially for the development of the smart cities.

The Union urban development ministry’s website on the smart city projects www.indiansmartcities.in lists the vision of a smart city.

In the government’s concept note on the smart city, which is available on the website also, a smart city “needs to identify its comparative or unique advantage and core competence in specific areas of economic activities and promote such activities aggressively, by developing the required institutional, physical, social and economic infrastructures for it and attracting investors and professionals to take up such activities.”

Smart city vision

High quality and frequency mass transport within 800m (10-15 minute walking distance)

95% residences should have daily needs retail, parks, primary schools and recreational areas accessible within 400m walking distance

Household with 100 % direct water supply connections

100% Wi-Fi connectivity

Availability of telemedicine facilities to residents

30 minutes emergency response time

1 college per 1.25 lakh population

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