Ghaziabad, which features on a list of 97 probable cities that could be picked for the Centre’s ‘Smart City’ project, is counting on its traffic mitigation plans to be chosen. The central government is set to announce its pick of 20 from the pool on Thursday that will eventually receive funding for turning the city into a smart, sustainable location.
In a competition held between states last August, Ghaziabad was chosen among 12 cities from Uttar Pradesh during the first phase. Officials said a nearly 500-page document was submitted with proposals that were tailored from public suggestions.
City officials from the Ghaziabad municipal corporation prepared plans that included a pan-city development agenda focusing on improving traffic infrastructure, a major issue that city residents flagged in their submissions.
Officials proposed a traffic management system that will include removal of encroachments, diversions, widening of crossings, removing of on-road parking and even issuing e-challans against violators.
Under area-wise development, officials proposed a riverfront development plan spread over about 700 acres along the river Hindon. IT parks and startup villages for training along the river feature in these plans.
“Most of the suggestions received online were about improving the traffic system in the city. People also suggested tackling solid-waste, but traffic emerged as a major problem. We are hopeful that the city does well in the final selection,” said Abdul Samad, Ghaziabad municipal commissioner.
The city cleared the initial phase for the ‘Smart City’ project in July after it entered a final list of 12 cities selected from Uttar Pradesh including Moradbabad, Bareilly, Aligarh, Saharanpur, Jhansi, Kanpur, Allahabad, Lucknow, Varanasi, Agra and Rampur.
However, Ghaziabad faced a major hiccup in November last year where it barely mustered around 40,000 online suggestions from the public. This was far behind cities like Saharanpur which drew nearly 90,000 suggestions from its residents.
The Smart City initiative is a big push by the government to urbanise smaller towns and cities in the country and provide a higher quality of life. Each state will get at least one smart city based on metrics like service levels and infrastructure in a project estimated to cost Rs 96,00 crore.