The government is looking to build smart cities near 10 of the 12 major ports in the country, minister for road transport, highways and shipping Nitin Gadkari said on Wednesday. Addressing a smart cities conference organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham), Gadkari said Mumbai and Kolkata would be excluded from the list.
Each port will construct a smart city at an expenditure of Rs 3,000-4,000 crore using 2,64,000 acre of land, much of which is prime property. The 12 major ports, which together handle around 61% of the total cargo traffic are Kandla, Mumbai, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Mormugao, Visakhapatnam, Cochin, Chennai, New Mangalore, Ennore, VO Chidambaranar, Kolkata and Paradip.The smart cities at the ports would comprise townships along with ship-breaking and ship-building centres.
The government’s focus was not restricted to just smart cities but extended to developing existing cities to meet the changing needs of the day. “That is where providing affordable housing for the poorest of the poor comes in as a priority area for the government,” Gadkari said adding the biggest impediment was that only 1% of the population could afford houses above Rs 10 lakh.
The government, he said was hoping to build homes below this value and as part of this initiative houses had been built in Nagpur at Rs 1,000 a square foot using 70% fly ash on a steel structure. A 450-sqft house would be provided for Rs 5 lakh and with a subsidy of Rs 1.5 lakh, the house would be available at Rs 3.5 lakh.
One aspect that needs to be examined is
the pollution levels in cities. It has been discovered that a large chunk of the pollution is from construction activities. To regulate this, the government will, over the next 30-40 days, bring out construction and demolition of waste management rules.