Lucknow Tops as ‘Smart City’- M’luru Flunks Again

Mangaluru: Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, a state that goes to polls next year, has topped the list of 13 winners in a fast-track competition for smart cities. Mangaluru which was expected to make it in the second round, was not selected in this round. These 13 cities were selected in a competition among a total of 23. With this, 33 cities have become eligible for central funding for the project. In January, the first lot of 20 cities were announced. Besides Lucknow, the latest list of 13 includes Warangal (Telangana), Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh), Chandigarh, Raipur (Chhattisgarh), New Town-Kolkata (West Bengal), Bhagalpur (Bihar), Panaji (Goa), Port Blair (Andaman & Nicobar), Imphal (Manipur), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Agartala (Tripura) and Faridabad (Haryana).

Five cities from the list were from states scheduled to see Assembly elections in two years. While Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Manipur will have elections in 2017, Himachal Pradesh and Tripura will go to polls in 2018. Chandigarh, a Union territory, is the capital of Punjab (and also Haryana), which will see elections in 2017. Each of these cities will get Rs 500 crore in phases from the Centre under the smart city plan. The remaining funds have to come from the states, municipal bodies and the private sector. The Cabinet had last year allocated Rs 50,000 crore of central funding for the smart city project.

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Union Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Parliamentary Affairs, M Venkaiah Naidu releases a booklet at a press conference to announce the results of Fast Track Smart City Competition. Pic courtesy: PTI

A government statement said: “These 13 cities were selected based on the marks scored by them in the fast-track competition and the benchmarks set by the top performers in the first round of the Smart City Challenge, in which the first 20 cities were selected from among 98 mission cities.” In addition, the tie between Meerut and Rai Bareilly, the two cities in UP, will be decided soon for smart city funding. So will the clash between Jammu and Srinagar be settled, according to Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu. Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar — three states that had not found any presence in the January list — have been included now. Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, continues to be missing from the smart city list.

In January, Bhubaneshwar had emerged the top city on the list of 20. Others were Pune, Jaipur, Surat, Kochi, Ahmedabad, Jabalpur, Vishakapatnam, Solapur, Davangere, Indore, Coimbatore, Kakinada, Belgaum, Udaipur, Guwahati, Chennai, Ludhiana, Bhopal and the New Delhi Municipal Corporation. Some cities are going for two packages, others are opting for a pan-city solution and the rest for area development. At a conference to announce the list, Naidu said the cities that participated in the competition improved the quality of smart city plans by more than 25 per cent to become eligible. Earlier, Lucknow had missed the list of first 20 smart cities but has now improved the quality of its plan by 19 per cent. Those showing maximum improvement at 27 per cent are Shimla, Imphal, and Ranchi.

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“Namma Kudla”- didn’t qualify for ‘Smart City’ even in the Second Round

Seven cities — Patna (Bihar), Shimla (Himachal Pradesh), Naya Raipur (Chhattisgarh), Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh), Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh), Bengaluru (Karnataka) and Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) — that were not among the 100 shortlisted for the competition will be able to participate in the next round, the Minister added. Ten cities that failed to make the cut are: Pasighat (Arunachal Pradesh), Shillong (Meghalaya), Namchi (Sikkim), Diu (Daman & Diu), Oulgaret (Puducherry), Silvassa (Dadra and Nagar Haveli), Kohima (Nagaland), Aizawl (Mizoram), Kavaratti (Lakshadweep) and Dehradun (Uttarakhand). They will be able to participate in the next round with other cities.

Of the 13 cities that qualified for the project, four are from BJP-ruled States (Chhattisgarh, Goa, Jharkhand and Haryana) while two are from Congress-governed States (Himachal Pradesh and Manipur). Lucknow is in Samajwadi Party-ruled Uttar Pradesh, while Bhagalpur is in Bihar, where the JD(U), the RJD and the Congress are ruling coalition partners. Warangal is in Telangana, which is ruled by the Telangana Rashtra Samithi.Apart from these, The Union Territories of Chandigarh and Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar Islands were also among the winners of this round.

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