There is no fixed definition of the concept of smart city mission. The need is to make citizen as well as corporation smarter to achieve this goal. We not only have to make infrastructure better but make the city vibrant, says A K Gupta, Additional Director Regional Centre for Urban and Environmental Studies, Lucknow, in a conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).
What is the current status of smart cities in Uttar Pradesh?
Out of 100 smart cities, 13 cities were allocated to Uttar Pradesh. We had to identify 13 cities which would be a part of the smart city mission. The government has not notified any town at the initiation of the scheme because the selection of the cities was on the competitive basis. They had provided the parameters and markings on which selection will be done. The Department of Urban Development, has assigned Regional Centre for Urban and Environmental Studies (RCUES) to evaluate the urban local bodies who have submitted their proposal as per the format developed. We have evaluated around 75 such proposals. Two cities, Rae Bareilly and Meerut got the same marks in the evaluation. Similar dispute happened in Jammu and Kashmir because they wanted two cities; one Jammu and one from Kashmir.
In the fast track round of the Smart City mission, the Urban Development Department decided that 27 towns would be selected initially and the one which will receive the highest marks would be selected for the smart city mission. Under that scheme, Lucknow got the highest marks in the first round. It was selected in the fast track round. In this round, 20 cities have submitted their proposals.
In the second round, Kanpur, Agra and Varanasi qualified from the Uttar Pradesh and Jhansi and Aligarh were on the borderline. Although they could not qualify, their data was good but due to the guidelines of the smart city mission, these cities could not qualify.
How is Lucknow getting developed in the ecosystem of Smart City mission?
There is no fixed definition of the concept of the Smart City mission. We have to make citizens as well as corporation smarter to achieve this goal. We not only have to make infrastructure better but make the city vibrant. It is utmost important to have economic vibrancy for which you need to improve the quality of the life. We have to learn how to efficiently use the resources.
Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) recently conducted a pre-bid conference for appointment of project management consultant (PMC) for execution of Lucknow Smart City project. The conference saw participation of 10-12 big companies which also gave inputs for changes in the RSP (Request for proposal). The companies gave many suggestions to be amended in tender document, most of them to be included in the technical evaluation of the bid.
The companies have requested LMC to allow more than two companies form consortiums to execute smart city project, given its wide scope of work. Few have also opined LMC should lower the turnover required for company so that more firms can participate.
What is the biggest challenge that you are facing in the development of Lucknow?
Immigration from nearby towns and eastern states like Bihar and Jharkhand is the biggest challenge in Lucknow’s quest to become a Smart City.
If Lucknow has to be ‘smart’, integrated planning has to be done for both core city (municipal jurisdiction) along with periurban areas of Lucknow like Gomtinagar Extension and Jankipuram Extension.
Smart solutions need to be applied for optimum use of resources.
With problems arise due to rapid urbanisation of the cities ?
Urbanisation is critical for the development of a nation however urbanisation in India has been changing the face of existing cities. During 2001, the high proportion of urban population has been reported to be in Delhi, Pondicherry, Goa, Chandigarh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Lakshadweep, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat etc. Over the last decades, many countries in Asia have experienced rapid economic growth, resulting in increase in urban population however urbanisation in India has been haphazard and unplanned.