PUDUCHERRY: Even as expectations are high in Puducherry of being selected for Smart City project of the Ministry of Urban Development (MUD), the wait is on for the formulation of detailed guidelines by the Ministry for implementation of the project. Once the Ministry comes out with the guidelines, a project report will be drawn up and submitted to the Ministry, said Chief Town Planner S Raghunathan.
The Ministry, which is gearing up to roll out its ‘100 smart cities’ scheme across the country, is likely to finalise the guidelines for the Rs 48,000 crore mega project shortly, he said. The NDA government’s flagship project got Union Cabinet’s approval at the fag end of April, paving the way for the Ministry to work out details for the selection of cities for the project. Union Minister of urban development Venkiah Naidu had said that the design and creation should be ‘region-specific’ and not a generalised concept as practised under JNNURM. The chosen cities would get a Central fund of Rs 100 crore each year for 5 years.
A comprehensive development plan for a Smart City for Puducherry would be drawn up based on the city mobility plan being prepared by the Transport Department and the Master Plan of Pondicherry Planning Authority (PPA), said Raghunathan. Puducherry’s requirement, priority areas at present and future needs as well as resource management would be kept in mind for the project proposals. The PWD has four to five proposals which include water supply and drainage. Besides, there are proposals for solid waste management, including processing of garbage. As the project is expected to have a five-year time frame as per the concept note unveiled by the ministry, proposals will be submitted for the first phase based on the immediate requirement, said Raghunathan.
The French government had already stated that it would support two to three Smart City projects in India and had earmarked 2 billion euros as credit for implementation of programmes under the project. Besides, they are keen on working hand-in-hand with the Puducherry government.
There is a need for good proposal as selection is based on merit, says Ashok Panda of INTACH. For the selection, the cities would be given scores based on urban reforms that they have carried out, their impact and what they propose to do in four key areas- Swachh Bharat, Make in India, good governance and e-governance. France offered its assistance in preparing a proposal. French Ambassador to India François Richier has stated that France could offer its expertise in sustainable urban development, water and waste management and energy efficiency.
Decongesting the town by creating a suburban tourist place near Ariyankuppam could be considered, said Panda. Already, French province of Ille-et-Vilaine is promoting a sustainable eco-tourism project on Chinna Verampattinam beach.