Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday announced the list of 13 more cities selected in the second batch to be developed as ‘smart cities’. Lucknow topped the list of winners of the Fast Track competition conducted for 23 cities from as many states and union territories. Lucknow that missed the list of first 20 smart cities improved the quality of its smart city plan by 19 per cent to make it to the select list.
Besides Lucknow, Warangal (Telangana), Dharamshala (Himachal Pradesh), Chandigarh, Raipur (Chhatisgarh), New Town Kolkata (West Bengal), Bhagalpur (Bihar), Panaji (Goa), Port Blair (Andaman and Nicobar Islands), Imphal (Manipur), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Agartala (Tripura) and Faridabad (Harayana) make it to the list of cities that will be developed as smart cities.
Naidu said that the cities that participated in the competition improved the quality of smart city plans by up to over 25 per cent to become eligible for selection. With the selection of these 13 cities, 25 states and union territories now covered under the Smart City Mission.
The urban development minister said, “the 13 smart cities selected today and the 20 cities announced earlier will involve an investment of Rs 80,789 crore.”
These 13 cities were selected based on the marks scored by them in the Fast Track competition and the bench marks set by the top performers in the first round of Smart City Challenge competition in which the first 20 cities were selected from among 98 mission cities.
Experts have given a thumbs up to the selection of the 13 cities in the second list. Anuj Puri, chairman and country head, JLL India said, “With the latest addition of 13 more cities, the smart cities mission has made inroads into 25 states/UTs in India. It is exciting to see that these qualifying cities now have a long-term five year action plans based on a comprehensive analysis of gaps in their public amenities and utilities and this is a step in the right direction if we want to see more cities emerging as economic centres to reduce the pressure on select big cities. The latest list is a good mix of prominent industrial and cosmopolitan cities along with, state capitals as well as Tier 3 and 4 cities and bodes well for a holistic approach to developing existing cities as Smart Cities.”
To resolve the election deadlock, government will allow Jammu and Kashmir’s Jammu and Srinagar cities along with and UP’s Raebareli and Meerut to compete for Smart Cities.