While residents in various parts of Uttar Pradesh are disappointed that their cities have lost out in the Smart City race, officials claim that Noida and Greater Noida have no such qualms. They said the infrastructure in the twin cities is excellent and is going to improve in the coming years.
When the centre on Thursday announced the names of 20 cities from across the country, to be included in the first phase of the ‘smart city’ makeover, none of the UP cities had made the cut.
“Our world-class mobility projects, including the Metro, have a budget of Rs 10,000 crore (three projects) and we are capable of managing those funds on our own. Why do we need Rs 500 crore under the smart city project?” said Rama Raman, chairman of Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway authority.
Uttar Pradesh’s three industrial development authorities – Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway – had allocated Rs 19, 649 crore for the annual budget of 2014-15. The Noida authority alone had approved an annual budget of Rs 9,212 crore.
So far, Noida has spent approximately Rs 900 crore to provide Ganga water supply in the city for drinking purposes and have allocated Rs 350 crore for a city bus service project. It has also earmarked Rs 1,000 crore for running a Metro rail company, officials said. They claimed that they “felt no need for inclusion in Smart City project”.
“We are constructing a Rs 5,400 crore Metro project to connect Noida and Greater Noida with the rest of NCR. Another Rs 1,600 crore Metro project is underway to connect Noida City Centre to Sector 62,” an official of the Greater Noida authority said.
The Uttar Pradesh government in July 2015 had not included Noida and Greater Noida in its list of 12 nominated from the sate for a nationwide competition. It had said these cities were already well-planned and did not need further exposure, while giving the opportunity to other cities.
Under the smart city project, the centre takes into consideration factors such as adequate and clean water supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transportation, affordable housing for poor, power supply, IT connectivity, e-governance and citizen participation.
According to officials, Noida and Greater Noida have wide roads, boast of signal-free traffic junctions, access to Ganga water, well laid out parks and drainage/sewage system, sewage treatment plants and Metro connectivity, among others.