Smart cities let transport take lead, put safety & waste disposal in back seat

Radheshyam Jadhav| | Jul 10, 2018

While urban transport is the topmost investment priority for cities selected under the government’s Smart City Mission, safety and solid waste management issues are at the bottom of the list.

In a presentation made to the parliamentary standing committee on urban development, the housing and urban affairs ministry has stated that 99 cities that are part of the Mission are expected to make investments of Rs 2 lakh crore, of which the highest share of over Rs 33,000 crore (16.6 per cent) is proposed for urban transport.

Interestingly, while most cities in India are faced with a solid waste management crisis, only 2.4 per cent (Rs 4,896 crore) of the total investment is directed towards this sector. Social sectors and storm water drainage are also a low priority on the investment agenda with just 2.5 per cent (Rs 5,100 each) for projects in these areas.

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Some of the core infrastructureNSE 4.60 % elements in a Smart City include adequate water supply, assured electricity supply, sanitation including solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, affordable housing and safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly. While many of these components are also covered and funded through other programmes like AMRUT and Swachh Bharat Mission, cities were free to include them also under the Smart City programme.

After urban transport, area based development is the second most important investment priority under the programme, with proposed investment of Rs 30,600 crore. Under area based development, cities pick one area and develop it fully so that the model can be replicated in other parts of the city.

According to the ministry, 3,183 projects worth Rs 1.45 lakh crore are in various stages of implementation. Projects worth Rs 4,960 crore have been completed. Work has started on other projects worth Rs 23,000 crore while the tendering system is in process for the rest.

The Smart City Mission is one of the flagship programmes of the Modi government. The duration of the Mission is five years – 2015-16 to 2019-20 as per the Mission statement and guidelines, which add that it may be continued thereafter after an evaluation. The first lot of 20 cities was selected on January 1, 2016. ( TOI )