Uttarakhand has been indirectly asked to follow the smart city format by the Central government’s expert panel after its Dehradun project failed the smart test twice.
The experts’ panel has given Uttarakhand 10-point suggestions this time, which basically ask the state project mandarins to cut down the project area to manageable limits and also do away with “superfluous” add-ons to keep the project model cost-effective and workable, sources said.
The central government had announced the list last week. Earlier in January, it had faced a similar failure. However, this time the Dehradun smart city project
lost by two marks in the ‘fast track competition’ in which 13 of the 23 cities were picked up by the Union ministry of urban development (MoUD).
On Tuesday, the Uttarakhand government received a set of observations made by the panel of experts which studied the fast-track city proposals. Keeping which in mind the authorities are now expected to revise the Dehradun smart city proposal.
Nodal officer for the smart city project, R Meenakshi Sundaram, said that out of the 10 observations, the most important ones were reduction in the total area covered (4303 acres) and curtailing the number of components (15) included in the proposal.
“Also, we have been asked to give preference to components based on smart interventions rather than focusing on infrastructure-based components,” Sundaram said, adding that a stocktaking meeting was held with the consultants to discuss the proposal tweaking accordingly.
City mayor Vinod Chamoli, who heads the Dehradun Municipal Corporation (DMC), said that he would soon call a board meeting of the civic body to discuss the revision of the proposal. The participation and consent of the urban local body was central to the smart city project, he added.
“The central government found our proposal over ambitious as we had fit in too many things all in one go. However, we will cut down the total area only in such a way that the entire core area (of the city) gets covered, while we will facilitate the rest of (the left out) city under other central government schemes,” the mayor said.
The remaining 10 fast track cities, which could not qualify in the extended phase of Round 1, have to participate in the main Round 2 now and have to submit their revised proposals by June 30.
“We’ll work out the details in consultation with the DMC and revise the proposal very soon,” Sundaram said.
It is worth recalling that in January, the Uttarakhand government’s first ‘greenfield’ proposal to build a smart city on tea garden land had failed to make it to the top 20 proposals to be undertaken in the first phase. In March, the Uttarakhand government decided to replace the tea garden land idea with ‘retrofitting’ of Zone 4. In April, the final proposal was submitted to the MoUD.