After an initial setback, chances of Gurgaon being included in the list of Smart Cities have improved. The city will have to meet certain parameters for which the Union ministry of urban development (MoUD) has agreed to provide technical support.
In a meeting held in Delhi last week, the MoUD told state authorities that the Centre is ready to consider the city for Smart Cities project, provided it met the criteria. Gurgaon was left out while neighbouring Faridabad and Karnal were included in the list this year.
A reply to an RTI query had revealed Gurgaon scored 85 out of 100 while Karnal scored 90 and Faridabad 88.
Sources said the technical support will focus on better coordination among various agencies so that development and civic works are not stuck in red-tapism. MoUD officials were of the view that due to the multiplicity of agencies in Gurgaon, development works are not executed properly.
“It was decided during the meeting that the ministry will provide technical support to the state government and Gurgaon administration in meeting technicalities for a Smart City. Gurgaon deserves to be in the list,” Rao Inderjit Singh, Union minister of state for urban development and housing, said.
The Centre has already selected 100 smart cities but Gurgaon will be considered as a special case. The ministry has also allowed nine more capitals including Patna, Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Amaravati, Itanagar, and Gangtok to participate in the next round of the competition.
“The Centre has conceded that being closer to national capital and housing more than 250 Furtune500 companies, Gurgaon deserves to be a Smart City. Earlier, there were some issues that will be taken care of now,” a senior official of Haryana urban local bodies department said. The official, who was part of the meeting, said the MoUD has verbally committed to include Gurgaon in the list.
The city has to constantly deal with issues such as power cuts, water shortage, poor sewerage and drainage system and traffic blockades that may have prevented it from making the list. Sources said that among the criteria that Gurgaon underperformed were failure to reach property tax targets, debts on municipal corporation and the failure to utilise other government funds.
The cities selected under the Smart City mission are given Rs 100 crore per year for five years.
Among 100 smart cities, Uttar Pradesh leads with 13 cities, Tamil Nadu with 12 and Maharashtra with 10.
Criterion for smart city:
There are two stages for selection of a Smart city. In the stage-1 termed City Challenge Competition, each state will score all their cities on set criteria and nominate the top scorers. Evaluation criteria for stage-1 involves 100 point system – 30 points each for self-financing and past track record, 25 points for existing service levels, and 15 points for institutional systems and capacities.
In stage-2, 100 potential smart cities nominated by states will be rigorously evaluated on the basis of their ‘Smart City Plan’ for financing.