NEWDELHI: The Urban Development Ministry on Tuesday announced 13 winners of the fast-track Smart City competition, with Lucknow topping the list. These cities can now compete to be a "Smart City" in the next cycle of "India Smart Cities Challenge".
Announcing the list, Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said Lucknow, which could not make it to the first list of 20 mission cities last year, had improved the quality of its Smart City plan. Twenty-three cities participated in the fast-track competition.
The other cities that made it to the next round are Warangal (Telangana), Shimla, (Himachal Pradesh), Chandigarh, Raipur (Chhattisgarh), New Town Kolkata (West Bengal), Bhagalpur (Bihar), Panaji (Goa), Port Blair (Andaman & Nicobar Islands), Imphal (Manipur), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Agartala (Tripura) and Faridabad (Haryana).
The minister said these 13 cities were selected on the basis of marks scored by them in the fast-track competition and the benchmarks set by the top performers in the first cycle of the challenge.
Naidu said these 13 cities have substantially improved their Smart City plans by addressing the deficiencies identified in the first round of the competition. This ensured a better profiling of the cities in terms of infrastructure gaps and baseline service levels, which effected consistency between the citizens' aspirations and action plans, more feasible resource mobilisation plans, and coordinated and integrated picture of how individual projects will contribute to area-level changes.
Only 12 states and UTs were represented in the first list of 20 mission cities announced in the first cycle of "India Smart Cities Challenge" on January 28.
Other cities that participated in the Fast Track Competition were : Namchi in Sikkim (ranked 14); Aizawl in Mizoram (15); Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh (16); Dehradun in Uttarakhand (17); Kohima in Nagaland (18); Oulgaret in Puducherry (19); Silvassa in Dadra & Nagar Haveli (20); Kavaratti in Lakshadweep (21); Diu in Daman & Diu (22); and Shillong in Meghalaya (23).
These cities can submit their revised Smart City plans for evaluation in the second round of regular competition underway by the end of June.
The first 20 cities were selected from 98 mission cities.
Naidu said the tie between Meerut and Rai Bareli, in Uttar Pradesh, and Jammu and Srinagar, in J&K, will be resolved by allowing them to participate in the Smart City competition and one city from each of these two states will be selected on the basis of the quality of their respective Smart City plans.
Other capital cities that are left out of the Smart City Mission will also be allowed to participate in the competition. These cities include Patna, Naya Raipur, Itanagar, Amaravati, Bengaluru and Thiruvananthapuram.
Giving an account of the gains of new initiatives and approaches, Naidu said that for the first time in the country, 98 Smart Cities and 497 Atal Mission cities -- accounting for over 70 percent of urban population -- currently have long-term five-year action plans based on comprehensive analysis of infrastructure gaps.
On the occasion, Naidu released a publication titled 'Urban Renaissance May 2014-May 2016' giving a detailed account of paradigm shift in attitudes and approaches to urban planning and governance, and the major drivers of urban revival and transformation set in motion during the last two years.