Delay in mayoral polls costs SAS Nagar the smart city tag

  • Shailee Dogra, Hindustan Times, SAS Nagar
  • Updated: Aug 27, 2015 23:32 IST

Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal's future city SAS Nagar has failed to get the smart city tag.

Despite scoring 93 percentile or 75 marks out of 80 on the 13-point criteria in an intercity competition between six cities conducted by the local bodies department of the Punjab government, SAS Nagar failed to make it to the list of 100 cities that will be developed as smart cities across the country.

Reason: The delay in holding the mayoral elections and subsequently passing the resolution in the elected House, all owing to litigation.
The Punjab government is already promoting SAS Nagar, including Mullanpur (now called New Chandigarh) as an important investment destination.

However, the resolution of elected members of the municipal corporation was one of the main criteria for a city to be considered for the smart city tag.

"We did not have the resolution of the elected members as the mayor is yet to be elected. Thus we were not considered. We will definitely get the smart city tag next year as most of the facilities that are to be provided in a smart city are already in place,"said municipal commissioner Uma Shankar Gupta.

Gupta said that the city was generating its own revenue from taxes and other sources. "Development work is carried out from the revenue, thus, generated. The online grievance and redressal system is up to date and all complaints are solved on a daily basis,"he said.

As per guidelines, a smart city must have assured water and electricity supply, sanitation and solid waste management, resourceful city mobility and public transport, IT connectivity, e-governance, councillors with participation of citizens, and a proper system to guard the residents. SAS Nagar already has online facilities, water supply lines, sewerage system, draining system and other utilities enabling the city to efficiently correspond with its residents.

From Punjab, meanwhile, Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana will be developed as smart cities, while another 17 cities/districts in the state will get funds under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation.

Had SAS Nagar made it to top 100 cities it would have got `500 crore each to promote trade, industrialisation and employment generation. Now, each of the 100 smart cities will have to participate in an intercity competition and vie for getting the Central funds. In the first year, 20 selected smart cities from across the country will get the funding. The next year, another 40 will get funds, while the remaining will get funds from the third year onwards.

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