Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Rourkela, Sep 20:
The Steel City of Odisha today erupted in joy after it found place in the third round of competition in the list of urban centres to be developed as a Smart City. With this, Rourkela becomes the second city in the state to find place in the list, after Bhubaneswar.
Union Minister for Urban Development, Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, Information & Broadcasting Venkaiah Naidu today announced the list of 27 among the 67 cities in the contention.
The cities are: Agra, Ajmer, Amritsar, Aurangabad, Gwalior, Hubbali-Dharwad, Jalandhar, Kalyan-Bombivali, Kanpur, Kohima, Kota, Madurai, Mangaluru, Nagpur, Namchi, Nashik, Rourkela, Salem, Shivamogga, Thane, Thanjavur, Tirupati, Tamakuru, Ujjain, Vadodara, Vellore and Varanasi.
Interestingly, no city from West Bengal and Bihar found mention in the third list. Of the 27, ten cities are from states where the BJP is in power. The biggest beneficiaries are Maharashtra (Thane, Nashik, Nagpur, Kalyan Dombivali and Aurangabad), Madhya Pradesh (Gwalior and Ujjain), Rajasthan (Kota and Ajmer) and Gujarat (Vadodara).
Similarly, three cities are from states ruled by NDA allies. The cities are—Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim (Namchi) and Nagaland (Kohima).
On the other hand only four cities – Hubbali-Dharwad, Managaluru, Shivamogga and Tumkaru – are from Congress ruled Karnataka, AIADMK-ruled Tamil Nadu got four cities – Madurai, Salem, Thanjavur and Vellore. BJD-ruled Odisha got a lone city in its kitty in the form of Rourkela.
The total investment in 27 cities that will be developed as “smart” is envisaged at about Rs 66,883 crore.
Smart cities are picked though a two-stage process. In the first stage, a state shortlists potential cities and send the names to the Centre. In the second round, these nominated cities compete with each other.
The Centre will give Rs 48,000 crore for five years for the programme. Each city will get Rs 100 crore per year. A matching fund of Rs 48,000 crore will have to be contributed by states from their internal resources/ market borrowing and through private sector.
Notably, India plans to have 100 such cities by 2022. As of now, sixty cities have been picked up including 20 in January and 13 in May, the remaining will be picked by 2018. The Smart Cities will have uninterrupted power and water supplies, internet connectivity, e-governance along with quality infrastructure.