Capital Bhopal is among three cities from Madhya Pradesh to make it to the list of first 20 ‘Smart Cities’ in India that will be developed with federal assistance to deliver a better quality of life.
The other two cities are Jabalpur and Indore which got a fairly respectable ranks — seventh and 11th respectively. 20 were picked from a list of 97 cities submitted by the states during a competition last year. All the states were asked to give their choices, which were judged on service levels, infrastructure and track record. To qualify, the states and local administrations had to provide “smart answers” to a template with 43 questions. The smart heads carried city improvement (retrofitting), city renewal (redevelopment), city extension (greenfield development) and a Pan-city initiative. However, Bhopal picked redevelopment head.
Bhopal mayor Alok Sharma expressed confidence that the redevelopment push would change the face of the city, which would involve solid waste management and intelligent streetlighting as part of the smart city project.
He said the total project cost was proposed to be Rs 3437 crore. Out of which Rs 1,000 crore would come from the central and the state governments and the rest would be generated through the PPP mode.
Detailing finer aspects of the project, Sharma said under the re-densification development, the 359-acre land of Shivaji Nagar would be redeveloped with a fund of Rs 3,000 crore and all the government houses in Shivaji Nagar and Tulsi Nagar area would be razed to give way to a vertical reconstruction. He said the area would have modern and affordable high-rises, equipped with tech-based basic infrastructure facilities apart from Wi-Fi.
“The development of this area will generate a revenue of Rs 6,000 crore (through the sale of such houses). This will help expedite other development projects in the city,” he said, adding that the total redevelopment would be carried out on 28% of the 34% built land in Shivaji Nagar. The highlights of the project would be smart solid waste disposal system, intelligent street lights, centralized BMC control room, tele-medicine and tele-education, skill development centres and trade facilitation centres.
The smart city project proposal contained suggestions from around 1.14 lakh residents.
A new chapter in development has opened for the capital: Municipal commissioner
Tejaswi Naik, commissioner, Bhopal Municipal Corporation, said that with Bhopal’s selection in the list of Smart Cities, a new chapter in development has opened for the capital. The next 15-20 years are going to be very important for Bhopal as it will help the city become a global brand. To be included in the first list will help us in attracting more investments from multi-national companies and industries. Naik said that by identifying the strengths of the city, we will create opportunities for college students as well. During seminars, we had taken suggestions from them and by working on them, we will try to generate as many as facilities and an avenues for employment for them as possible. For the residents of the city, solid waste management will be performed smartly. The BMC will also develop a centralised control room that will provide smart solutions to the citizens of Bhopal, Naik added.