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 Rs 3 lakh crore will be invested over the next five years to make them ready to address the new challenges of urbanisation.
From Karnataka, Bengaluru failed to make the cut. Instead, Mangaluru, Belagavi, Shivamogga, Hubballi-Dharwad, Tumakuru and Davangere were included in the list announced by Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu here.
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 skyrocketing. Chennai, Erode, Salem, Coimbatore, Madurai, Vellore, Dindigul, Tirunelveli, Tiruchapalli, Thanjavur, Tiruppur and Thoothukudi have made it to the coveted set. After Uttar Pradesh, which has got the maximum 13 cities listed, Tamil Nadu has the second highest beneficiary of the mission to transform urban living.
Similarly, Greater Hyderabad and Greater Warangal from Telangana and Visakhapatnam and Tirupati and Kakinada from Andhra Pradesh have also found a place in the list.
In Odisha, Bhubaneshwar and Raurkela were selected, and from Kerala only Kochi made it into the smart city list. Naidu said out of 98 cities, 24 are business and industrial centres, 24 capitals, 18 cultural and tourism cities and five port cities.
Maharashtra with 10 cities comes after UP and Tamil Nadu.
Lutyens’ Delhi, the seat of power, managed by the New Delhi Municipal Council, is part of the list.
However, nine capital cities that could not be nominated for the Smart City development are Itanagar, Patna, Shimla, Bengaluru, Daman, Thiruvananthapuram, Puducherry, 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, the Jammu and Kashmir government also sought more time to make its choice. Sources said there is bitter fight in the state government over the allotment of a smart city between the Jammu region and Kashmir region.
“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,” minister Naidu said.
Actual Work Begins Now
The selected cities will have to prepare city-level smart city plans, which will be evaluated in the second stage of competition to pick up the top scoring 20 cities for financing during this financial year. Those cities to be selected in the second stage would be provided with Central assistance of Rs 200 crore in the first year, followed by Rs 100 crore each year for the next three years, Minister Venkaiah Naidu said.