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Why Panchkula not on smart city list, asks Parliamentary panel

The Parliamentary standing committee on urban development has questioned as why Panchkula has not been included on the list of smart cities despite being an important economic centre with a cosmopolitan character.

india Updated: Mar 18, 2017 12:01 IST
Bhartesh Singh Thakur
The Sector­11 market in Panchkula. As many as 20 cities were selected to be developed as smart cities in 2015­-16.
The Sector­11 market in Panchkula. As many as 20 cities were selected to be developed as smart cities in 2015­-16.(HT File Photo)

The Parliamentary standing committee on urban development has questioned as why Panchkula has not been included on the list of smart cities despite being an important economic centre with a cosmopolitan character.

The committee’s 14th report, submitted in Parliament recently, says that cities such as Panchkula, which have a population of more than 5 lakh, have not been included “despite being important economic, industrial and employment-generating centres, with true cosmopolitan character and global outlook”.

Gurgaon and Delhi, except areas under the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), were other cities about which the Parliamentary standing committee on urban development has raised questions.

Components of the Smart City Mission include city improvement (retrofitting), renewal (redevelopment), extension (green field development) and a pan-city initiative, in which smart solutions are applied covering larger parts of the city, for which, money comes from the concerned ministry of the central government.

STATE GOVTS SELECT CITIES COMPETITIVELY, MINISTRY TELLS PANEL

The ministry of urban development in its deposition before the committee had said when 100 smart cities were selected, the state governments selected their areas competitively for being considered for development under the Smart City Mission.

In stage 1, based on intra-state competition conducted by states and UTs, a list of 98 potential smart cities was announced in 2015, to participate in the Stage 2 — city challenge. No proposal was sent for Panchkula in this.

In stage 2, each potential smart city had to prepare a smart city proposal; 97 shortlisted cities submitted their smart city proposals, which were evaluated by a committee involving a panel of experts. Finally, 20 cities were selected for development as smart cities in 2015-16.

MAYOR WELCOMES COMMITTEE’S MOVE

Panchkula municipal corporation mayor, Upinder Kaur Walia, said, “It is good that the Parliamentary standing committee has raised the issue of Panchkula. In 2015, when the proposals were to be sent, we had neither a commissioner nor an executive officer. Superintending engineer was to send the proposal, but it got delayed by a day. This is how we lost the race.”

The standing committee’s report stated, “The committee desires the government for considering Gurgaon, Panchkula and other areas of Delhi outside NDMC areas, for inclusion in the list of smart cities; and to provide adequate funds and technical assistance to the state or UT governments for making these cities smart as envisaged under the Smart City Mission, in due course of time.”

Panchkula MLA Gian Chand Gupta said, “I welcome that the Parliamentary standing committee report raised the issue. And I hope that Panchkula will soon be included in the list of smart cities.”