BENGALURU: Karnataka has proposed to develop four heritage cities under the Smart City Project of the Union Government. Urban Development Minister B A Basavaraj has written to the Centre seeking to include Mysuru, Kalaburagi, Vijayapura and Ballari under the ambitious project. He said he will visit New Delhi soon with the proposal finalised by the state government.
While Mysuru boasts of the rich legacy of the Wadiyar dynasty, Vijayapura, known for its world famous Gol Gumbaz, was the administrative capital of the Adil Shahi sultans. Kalaburagi was the seat of Bahamani sultans and Ballari was connected to the Vijayanagara empire. The cities have historical monuments dating back many centuries.
Seven other cities – Bengaluru, Tumakuru, Mangaluru, Shivamogga, Belagavi, Davangere and Hubballi-Dharwad – are already being developed under the Smart City Project. If the Centre accepts the proposal, all the top 10 cities of the state after Bengaluru will come under the national project which aims at transforming urban clusters into “user-friendly” living spaces. Basavaraj who wrote a formal letter to Union Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, said he has “big plans” to beautify the cities.
“The entire infrastructure will be upgraded and made user-friendly. Roads, footpaths, public transport, parks, street lights and the entire urban landscape will be improved,” he said. Former urban planning secretary Anjum Pervez who had taken up a lot of pioneering works under the project said, “The idea is to have integrated planning. Vancouver in Canada is an example of how good planning works. An entire unplanned space of the city was removed and redeveloped.
Cities can be planned and managed better. Once networked, one can know how many street lights are working and commuting can be made easy through electric vehicles.’’ Another expert said, “The project will ensure that the cities are developed and important historical monuments, some of which date back five-six centuries, will be woven into the present... Vijayapura has the Gol Gumbaz, Ibrahim Rauza and other fascinating structures.
Mysuru has the Palace and many other historical monuments, while Kalaburagi is known for Khwaja Bande Nawaz Dargah among others. They will be made easier to access which is currently an issue. Public transport and other infrastructure will all be developed under the concept.’’