Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi/Bhubaneswar, Jan 28:
Bhubaneswar has topped the list of first 20 cities to be turned into smart cities in India, announced Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu in New Delhi, today.
Calling it as a surprise for many, “The first city no one will be able to speculate, the city to stand at first place is Bhubaneswar. This will be a big surprise to many of you,” Venkaiah Naidu told media while announcing the 20 cities who made to first phase of smart city initiative.
The list of cities to qualify in the first phase of smart city competition are: Bhubaneswar, Pune, Jaipur, Surat, Kochi, Ahmedabad, Jabalpur, Visakhapatnam, Solapur, Dhavangiri, Indore, New Delhi Municipal Corporation, Coimbatore, Kakinada, Belgaum (Belagavi), Udaipur, Guwahati, Chennai, Ludhiana and Bhopal.
There were 97 cities in the Smart City Challenge, and the names of the first 20 winners of the competition were announced today.
Expressing happiness at the win, Bhubaneswar Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena said, “It is a combined effort by all citizens of Bhubaneswar, the deputy mayor, corporators, commissioner all others who were involved in the process. We should try to make Bhubaneswar the top city in India and encourage all tourists come to the city. We will try to turn it into a medical, educational, business, hotel and IT hub, and improve the infrastructure like airport, bus stand, railway station as well as tackle slum problem”.
A delighted state Urban Development Minister, Pushpendra Singhdeo said, “I am grateful to chief minister Naveen Patnaik, it is his vision to develop Bhubaneswar that has taken us to such heights. I will also like to congratulate, BMC Mayor, Commissioner and officers who have worked very hard to get Bhubaneswar into the smart city list. It is a very happy event that Bhubaneswar is India’s first smart city.”
On the challenges ahead, state Tourism and Culture Minister Ashok Panda, said, “Bhubaneswar is a heritage city, when we start the modernization process for smart city we will face many difficulties but we will be have to balance modernization process with ancient aspects of the city”.
Brand ambassador for the Smart City Mission, Archita Sahu, congratulating the citizens of Bhubaneswar said, “I am very proud as a Bhubaneswarite and as brand city ambassador of smart city initiative. This success could not have been possible without the citizen involvement and idea sharing.”
These 20 smart cities will be developed for basic infrastructure through assured water and power supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, IT connectivity, e-governance and citizen participation.