Work on the smart city project in Bhopal has not taken off properly even more than four months after the state capital was chosen among the 20 cities from across the country to be developed as smart cities in the first phase.
While the central government has already released Rs 250 crore for the Bhopal project, state authorities are yet to hire a consultant to design a plan.
“We have received a fund of Rs 250 crore from the Centre, but unless a plan is ready we can’t utilise it,” said Chandramauli Shukla, the chief executive officer of the special purpose vehicle created to implement the project in Bhopal.
Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu, on January 28, had announced the first list of 20 cities to be developed as smart cities. The list included three cities – Bhopal, Indore and Jabalpur – from Madhya Pradesh.
Asked how long will it take for the Bhopal Municipal Corporation to come up with a plan, Shukla said, “We have to hire a new consultancy that will make a plan. Also, we are involving some of our staff in the conceptualisation process, and their recruitment is already going on.”
Denying the rumors that Bhopal would be out of the list of the first 20 smart cities, Shukla said Bhopal would remain in the list as it was one of the most preferred location for development.
“Smart city project is an opportunity for a city to grow and develop. It is sad to know that people think only an area would be developed and the rest of the city would remain the same,” Shukla told HT.
Shukla said the 20% chosen area of South TT Nagar was vacated long ago by the Bhopal Development Authority (BDA), so no one will be asked to vacate their houses.
The displacement of residents was one of the major reasons because of which the proposed location of the smart city project was changed. The residents of Tulsi Nagar and Shivaji Nagar took to streets and withdrew their protest only after chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced the shifting of the smart city project to North TT Nagar last Month.
Urban development experts and environmentalists, however, continue to question the feasibility of the newly chosen area.
For a green city
Bhopal is among the 20 cities from across the country that will be developed as smart cities in the first phase. Indore and Jabalpur are the other two cities from MP
Smart cities will have basic infrastructure through assured water and power supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, IT connectivity, e-governance and citizen participation
342 acres (80% North TT Nagar and 20% South TT Nagar) have been chosen to be developed as smart cities
The USP of Bhopal smart city will be its theme — Green City.