Despite being one of the prominent cities in the national capital region and home to some of the world’s top information technology and manufacturing companies, Gurgaon once again failed to make the cut in the latest list of smart cities released Tuesday.
But, the chaos on the streets, inadequate civic amenities and poor local governance speaks volumes on why Gurgaon missed out.
Experts say the city has to sort out issues such as frequent power cuts, water shortage, poor condition of sewerage and drainage system and traffic bottlenecks before it is considered for the smart city race.
Sources said that some of the factors against Gurgaon were the failure to reach property tax targets, debts on the municipal corporation and the failure to utilise other government funds.
The 13 cities, including Chandigarh and Faridabad, were selected on Tuesday based on marks scored by them in the fast-track competition and the bench marks set by the top performers in the first round of the smart city race.
The cities will now be eligible for priority funding under the smart city mission with a total proposed investment of Rs 80,789 crore. Rs 100 crore will be given every year for five years to develop each selected city.
The reply to an RTI query filed after the first list was published revealed that Gurgaon came behind Faridabad and Karnal. Out of a maximum 100 points, Karnal scored 90, Faridabad 88 and Gurgaon 85.
“The state government also recommended Gurgaon to be developed as a smart city but the recommendation was not considered,” the Union ministry of urban development said in the RTI reply to Gurgaon-based activist Assem Takyar.
However, there is another school of experts who believe that making it to the smart city list is not what a city like Gurgaon should aspire for.
“There are projects worth Rs1,000 crore such as the Rapid Metro that is changing the face of the city. Why worry about a project that will fetch a few hundred crores?” an expert said.
Addressing a public rally in Badshahpur on April 11, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar had promised that the Haryana government will develop Gurgaon as a ‘super smart city’, a degree better than smart city.
“Gurgaon is already on the path of progress. We are trying to bring metro rail up to Manesar. The work on three more roads connecting the city with Delhi is already on,” the chief minister had said.