NEW DELHI: The wait is finally over. The Centre on Thursday unveiled the list of 98 cities that will be part of the ambitious Smart Cities project, where over `3 lakh crore will be invested over the next five years to make them ready to address the new challenges of urbanisation.
>> More on Smart Cities<<
Twelve cities from Tamil Nadu will form part of this initiative that will not only improve urban infrastructure, but may even send the real estate prices up north. Chennai, Erode, Salem, Coimbatore, Madurai, Vellore, Dindigul, Tirunelveli, Tiruchapalli, Thanjavur, Tiruppur and Thoothukudi have made it to the coveted set.
After Uttar Pradesh, which got 13 cities, the maximum, listed as smart cities, Tamil Nadu was the second biggest beneficiary of the mission to transform urban living. From Karnataka, Bengaluru failed to make the cut in the list announced by the Urban Development minister Venkaiah Naidu. However, nine capital cities that could not be nominated for Smart City development are Itanagar, Patna, Shimla, Bengaluru, Daman, Thiruvananthapuram, Gangtok and Kolkata.
The government has announced names of 12 cities nominated from Uttar Pradesh but they have sought more information from the state regarding the 13th smart city slot. Interestingly, Jammu and Kashmir government also sought more time to make up its choice. Sources said that there is a bitter fight in State government over allotment of smart city between Jammu and Kashmir.
The motive of the project is to enhance urban life. “Smart cities need smart people. We need people’s cooperation to move forward in our mission… It will enable a clean environment and provide smart solutions to problems,” the minister added.
The selected cities will have to prepare city level smart city plans and that will be evaluated in the second stage of competition based on a broad set of criteria to pick up the top scoring 20 cities for financing during this financial year. “Funds may be released to these 20 cities by end of this year. Other cities will be asked to improve upon the identified deficiencies before participating in the next two rounds of competition,” Naidu said.
Those cities to be selected in the second stage of competition would be provided with central assistance of `200 crore in the first year followed by `100 crore each year during the next three years, the minister said adding that formulation of new urban sector initiatives is based on ‘bottom up’ planning.