In January, Bhopal, Indore and Jabalpur made their way to the first list of smart cities announced by the Central government. Almost eight months down the line, on Tuesday, Gwalior and Jabalpur were picked in the third list to be developed as smart cities.
However, not much seems to have been done in the cities selected in the first list. HT analysed the progress made under the first selected projects.
While a few projects have been launched in Bhopal and Jabalpur, the Indore smart city plan is still in the conceptual stage.
With more than Rs 250 crore in its kitty, the Bhopal Smart City project is yet to start ground-level construction on site (North and South TT Nagar).
Indore was sanctioned around Rs 234 crore under the smart city project but for now, funds under the Amrit scheme are being utilised for widening of roads and improving the sewerage system, said sources.
Jabalpur got a sanction of more than Rs 200 crore to start the work.
The residents are now a worried lot as the ground-level reality is not changing in terms of roads, transport and infrastructure.
The Jabalpur Municipal Corporation has introduced J Cards — plastic money cards to be used in public transports, at kirana stores, chemists, milk booths, cafes and eateries. The JMC has also launched an app ‘J 311’ to address public services.
The Indore Municpal Corproration (IMC) has conceptualised an integrated waste management system and an integrated traffic management system. Though many houses in the selected location have been demolished but no construction has taken place till now.
In Bhopal, most of the residents are still wondering what the smart city will look like amidst no signs of development — in terms of infrastructure, transport and security of citizens — and the site land lying barren.
Authorities here talk about ideas like having smart-street polls, apps, citizen portals and an innovation hub but all these are still in the planning stage.
Most people HT spoke to have a vague idea about the project, with many saying they were not sure about the details.
“We want a decent quality of life with a good environment and ‘smart’ solutions to major issues. The core elements needed in the smart city are adequate water supply, assured electricity, sanitation facilities and institutions for health and education,” said Bharti Modi, a resident of Indrapuri in Bhopal.
The residents were told that a particular part of the city - Shivaji Nagar and Tulsi Nagar - will be redeveloped under the project. However, many objected to the selection, arguing it was already a developed area. Following many protests by residents, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was forced to change the location and announce TT Nagar as the new locality to be redeveloped.
A 342 acre section of the city’s central and commercial zone TT Nagar will be redeveloped under the design drafted by the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC), in collaboration with Tata Consultancy Engineers Pvt Ltd, said sources in the BMC.
Senior officials, dealing with the smart city project, said it will take at least three more months to come up with the detailed layout.
“We have launched the Bhopal Plus Smart City App, which will provide information about the decisions and policies under the project in one click. People can also give their suggestions through this app,” said an official.
BMC commissioner Chhavi Bharadwaj said, “Broadly, a smart city project means smart facilities like clean drinking water, sewage treatment, public transport, power supply which have to be provided to all. Apart from this, we are trying to digitalise the city in all the spheres.”
According to chief executive officer of the smart city project in Bhopal, Chandramauli Shukla, one scheme or a project cannot change the entire city.
“The roads would be developed through Amrit Yojana and not the smart city project. We have limited money in our budget. The final plan will be released after three months. The Centre is focusing only on our conceptualisation and Bhopal is doing much better than other cities selected in the first list,” he said.
Gwalior and Ujjain are among 27 centres picked on Tuesday to be developed as smart cities.
Under the Smart City mission, the central government provides `500 crore for each city over five years with states also making a |contribution.
The rest of resources will come from loans, public private partnership (PPP), convergence of various schemes of central and state governments besides own resources of urban local bodies.
So far, the urban development ministry has selected 60 cities in three rounds and has covered 27 states and Union Territories.
Gwalior and Ujjain pledged Rs 2,400 crore and Rs 2,300 crore for redevelopment on the lines of the smart city programme.