VISAKHAPATNAM:The state government is planning to set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to raise funds and implement the ambitious Smart City project in Visakhapatnam. The preliminary estimate for the project, developed in association with the US agencies, is pegged at around `25,500 crore.
Addressing a conference on ‘Visakhapatnam as a Smart City’ jointly organised by the Andhra Pradesh government and the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) in Visakhapatnam Friday, Giridhar Aramane, principal secretary for municipal administration and urban development said the SPV is likely to be established as a city development corporation. It would not only identify sector specific projects but also scout for funding agencies and companies for execution of the projects, he added.
Giridhar explained that the SPV would come up with sector-specific initiatives to achieve goals including tourism, environment, education, health and e-governance. The government will give priority to basic amenities like water supply, sewerage, streetlighting, roads and transportation, and solid waste management.
“As per the central government guidelines, the civic administration would try to raise funds by exploring new areas including imposing user charges for services provided. So far, the government has been able to raise funds from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to develop some of the infrastructure in the city,” he added. He invited corporates in the US and India to come forward and partner in the development of Vizag.
Speaking on the occasion, Henry Steingass, regional director of US Trade Development Agency (USTDA) for South and South East Asia, said that the USTDA, which is facilitating corporates from the US to plan and develop the Smart Cities in India, would submit a city specific mission for Visakhapatnam during May-June. The US government plans to invite tenders from the US corporate sector to develop a customised Smart City plan for Vizag.
“The urban and rural setting of Vizag provide an interesting challenge in developing it into a Smart City. The concept will be devised integrating urban transportation, sanitation, economic activities, emergency communication plan, port development, aviation sector and also power sector modernisation through a smart grid,” he added.
Dillon Banerjee, commercial affairs counsellor for US Embassy in India, said that the US companies with expertise in developing Smart City projects are ready to collaborate with Indian companies on different sectoral projects. CII Andhra Pradesh chairman Suresh Chitturi emphasised the need for creating non-migrating jobs in Visakhapatnam to prevent brain drain. He suggested that the public-private partnership in execution of Smart City projects will allow higher levels of infrastructure, delivery and execution.
‘City of Potential’
During his visit to Visakhapatnam on Friday, chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu held discussions with the US delegates and assured them all support in developing Visakhapatnam into a Smart City. He suggested that the US agencies be part of the SPV proposed to be floated by the state government and play their role in effective implementation of the projects. He pointed out that Visakhapatnam has high potential to become a global city which could attract huge investments.