Shillong has become the 100th city under the flagship Smart Cities Mission. The Meghalaya capital became the latest entrant to this prestigious list on Wednesday after the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India, determined that its application fulfilled the eligibility criteria for selection.
Having already picked 20 cities in January 2016, 13 cities in May 2016, 27 in September 2016, 30 in June 2017, and 9 in January 2018, the selection of cities for the Smart Cities Mission now stands complete. The proposed investment for the project is Rs. 2,05,018 crores.
The ministry had kept the slot of the 100th smart city vacant as Shillong had not been able submit its proposal due to the state Assembly elections held in earlier this year. After the official announcement, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma had said that it was a privilege for Meghalaya that Shillong had been selected as the 100th Smart City
When asked about the gradual speed with which the scheme is being carried out, The Hindu quoted Joint Secretary Kunal Kumar as saying, “The entire lifecycle of a project must be taken into account. Yes, three years have gone by, but the first one-and-a-half years were used to put the foundational elements in place. Simply creating infrastructure without an SOP [statement of purpose] and guidelines is of no use.”
Models Of Urban Renewability
The Smart City scheme entails a Rs. 500-crore grant from the central government to each selected city for various projects, to be released over time based on how different states are progressing towards the set goals under the scheme.
Explaining the concept of the Smart Cities Mission during its launch in June 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said, “Cities in the past were built on riverbanks. They are now built along highways. But in the future, they will be built based on availability of optical fiber networks and next-generation infrastructure”.
The mission aims to create 100 models of urban renewability and retrofitting. The five-year-plan is being implemented in coordination with the Make In India and Digital India campaigns.
Several Smart Cities have also set up Integrated Command and Control Centres, or are in the process of doing so.
Awards For Cities
The ministry also announced awardees under the India Smart Cities award on the same day. Spanning three categories, Project Award, Innovative Idea Award, and City Award, these awards have been given out to nine cities.
Surat was given the City Award for showing large amounts of progress in terms of the implementation of projects.
The Innovative Idea Award was shared by Bhopal, for its Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC), and Ahmedabad, for its Safe and Secure Ahmedabad (SASA) project.
Under the Project Award category, projects such as Public Bike Sharing in Bhopal, Pune, and Coimbatore, and Smart Classrooms in New Delhi and Jabalpur were picked to be awardees.
The India Smart Cities award was launched on 25 June 2017, as an attempt to reward cities for coming up with innovative ideas and carrying out sustainable development.