Faridabad made it to the smart cities list because its municipality had taken several steps to general revenues and make the civic agency financially sound. An online grievance mechanism was in place and so was an e-bulletin. Another reason why Faridabad secured second position in the state-level contest is that the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad paid salaries to its employees on June 30. Even 59 employees who retired on June 30 have been paid their dues (amounting to Rs 6 crore).
Interestingly, Faridabad was given four projects under the JnNURM scheme, out of which three were completed. These included revamping of the sewage system and sewage treatment works, drainage work in old Faridabad and solid waste management project. Karnal was chosen because it had audited balance sheets uploaded online, citizen engagement and e-newsletter.
Ghaziabad had an overall score of 82 points in an assessment for smart cities conducted over 20 different parameters. It also stood 138th among 476 cities in the Swachh Bharat rankings, factors that helped it score over its neighbours in NCR and make the cut.
“Ghaziabad could make it to the final list because of its infrastructure development. The city is currently extending the Metro network from Dilshad Garden to New Bus Stand and has also started work on building an18-km cycle track. The concept of mixed land-use already exists in Ghaziabad. Developing Ghaziabad as a smart city will entail focusing on energy conservation, pollution control and eco-friendly projects that will add value to the lives of the residents,” says Pratap Padode, founder and director, Smart Cities Council India.
Having said that, Noida or Greater Noida still stand a chance because 70% of the parameters (mandatory for the challenge) have already been achieved by them in the last three decades. The cities boast of better infrastructure, transport network, and plenty of job opportunities.
The reasons why Gurgaon did not make the cut were multiplicity of authorities and a weak municipal corporation. Gurgaon missed the smart city bus due to its civic mess and poor local governance. It lost out on critical points as it was not part of the JnNURM scheme.
In Delhi, NDMC has been selected as a smart city. The competition was between the south, east and north MCDs and the NDMC. Since EDMC and SDMC did not send their nominations in time, they were not selected.