The state capital's quest for the ‘smart city’ tag has now gone ‘national’ with the Patna municipal corporation (PMC) uploading its blog on the project, on the Centre's website, www.mygov.in, to invite suggestions from across India and abroad.
Patna is among the 11 cities, also including Jammu, Shimla, Bangalore, Itanagar, Srinagar and Amaravati, which were given wildcard entry to the contest for smart city mission. The union urban development ministry will accept final proposals of from cities till March end.
Patna smart city mission committee chairman and divisional commissioner Anand Kishor said the concept plan, area-based development plan and pan-city solution proposals, would be uploaded on the website in due course to solicit public opinions on the proposal.
"The upload has helped discussions to go national. Other details of proposal are being prepared by the department for international development (DFID), which is extending technical support in execution of various urban reforms," said Kishore.
He said he did not fear any significant adverse impact on the mission from the government’s recent decision to drop its consultant for the project, Arki Techno, in the midst of preparations for the contest.
A senior officer of urban development department (UDD) said IPE Global, another consultant engaged in the support programme for urban reforms (Spur), had been finalising different parts of the proposal on the basis of database put together by the previous consultant.
"All proposals will be ready by next month (ahead of the urban development ministry’s March-end,"he added.
Shimla and Itanagar have already uploaded their vision documents, concept plan and other area-specific plans on the website.
Apart from the concept plan to augment infrastructure development, the cities also need to qualify on 13 parameters set by the Union ministry, which include the existing service-levels, past track record and reforms, implementation of national urban renewal mission scheme and self-financing capacity of the cities.
As Patna waits for its turn, Bhagalpur has already been selected in phase two of the announcement for launch of the smart city mission. Besides, Muzaffarpur and Biharsharif-are on the list of 100 smart city probables awaiting formal announcement for their inclusion in list.
Aware of the tough challenge ahead, the PMC is putting its records in order to firm up its claim.
"Last time, we missed our chance by a whisker due to low rating of PMC facilities and services. Since then, we have substantially improved the mechanism to strengthen Patna's claim," said PMC additional commissioner and nodal officer of smart city project, Shirsat Kapil Ashok.
The mission guidelines envisage an annual allocation of Rs 200 crore to each smart city for up to five years on a 50-50 sharing by the Centre and state government. "This means, each city will get Rs 1,000 crore over the next five years to overhaul urban amenities," said a former principal secretary of the UDD.