The Centre’s list of Smart Cities that was rolled out on Thursday did not have Ghaziabad on it. In fact, none of the other 11 cities in Uttar Pradesh that were nominated for the programme featured on the list released by Union minister Venkaiah Naidu.
Moradabad, Bareilly, Aligarh, Saharanpur, Jhansi, Kanpur, Allahabad, Lucknow, Varanasi, Agra, Rampur and Ghaziabad were nominated by the UP government for the Smart City tag.
With regard to the 13th city in UP, there was an indecision on choosing between Rae Bareli and Meerut.
Ghaziabad could have lost most points on account of fewer online suggestions from citizens. According to the rules of the Smart City programme, citizens were supposed to submit suggestions and highlight problems of their city on the central government’s website.
Ghaziabad received hardly 30,000 online suggestions, while its counterpart Saharanpur got nearly 90,000 suggestions from its citizens.
The results have taken officials of the Ghaziabad municipal corporation by surprise, who now plan to review the city’s scores.
“We will review our scores in comparison with the other cities that have been selected for the programme. We will review our progress once we officially receive the documents from the
Union ministry. We hope to make appropriate amendments and get selected in the next phase,” said Sanjay Chauhan, executive engineer of the Ghaziabad municipal corporation.
However, sources have it there were problems between the municipal corporation and the consultant, who was appointed to draft the Smart City proposal. The issues were also communicated to the state officials.
Ghaziabad’s Smart City proposal focused on pan-city development, with the corporation planning to improve traffic infrastructure – a major issue highlighted by the residents of Ghaziabad on the Centre’s website.
Under the ‘area-wise development’ plan, the officials had proposed riverfront development, spread over nearly 600-700 acres along the Hindon. The project included setting up of IT parks and startup villages.
Despite the Smart City tag not coming their way, corporation officials said that they were hopeful of receiving funds on account of Rs 932 crore and Rs 684 crore plan proposals sent for water and sewerage, respectively, under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation.
The Smart City programme, launched by the Narendra Modi-led Centre, aims to develop 100 cities in the country by 2017. As part of the first phase, 20 cities will get a makeover in areas of sanitation, power supply and traffic.