Rajasthan has always been at the forefront in implementing development schemes backed by the Centre including the Smart City Mission. The State Government aims to complete various development works in all four Smart cities — Jaipur, Udaipur, Kota and Ajmer before the second anniversary of smart city projects celebration on June 25, this year. The works of Rs 265 crore will be conducted, while works of Rs 550 crore will be in the progress, says Dr Manjit Singh, Principal Secretary, Local Self Government Department, Government of Rajasthan, in conversation with Kartik Sharma and Arpit Gupta of Elets News Network (ENN).
How would you define concept of ‘Smart City’?
What is the budgetary allocation for the four cities selected under Smart City Mission? The concept of ‘Smart City’ is all about making a city liveable for its citizens and bridge the gaps – be it housing, water, electricity, transport, parking or sewage. It’s also about plugging the gaps in the existing schemes and offering people IT-enabled services.
Amongst all four smart cities in making — Jaipur, Udaipur, Kota and Ajmer, there is a healthy competition to complete various development works. Rajasthan Government has decided to spend around Rs 6,729 under smart city projects in four cities of the State. In Jaipur, Rs 2,401 crore, in Udaipur Rs 1,221 crore, in Ajmer Rs 1,948 crore and in Kota Rs 1,456 crore will be spent under smart city projects.
What are the development projects in the pipeline for Jaipur?
In this financial year, 50 development projects worth Rs 821 crore under smart city project will be completed in Jaipur. Such projects include 10 projects of smart mobility, smart heritage and tourism, 16 projects of smart infrastructure and 10 projects of smart solid waste management projects.
In Jaipur, applications for tenders of four projects including smart road, smart solution, smart class rooms and smart solid waste management have already been invited.
Why was a congested Walled City area chosen in Jaipur?
What are the key challenges in implementing smart projects? Under the Area-Based Development (ABD), an area of 650 acres of the Walled City (or old city), between Albert Hall and Jorawar Singh Gate, has been identified for retrofitting. Modern infrastructure that has been missing in the old city will be developed now. It’s challenging and has been selected after extensive stakeholder consultations and seeking out public opinion.
First is sewerage, which is almost 50 years old. Then, traffic congestion and limited parking space. Also, people here are not very positive toward public transport facilities. So, mindsets need to change. But for that, public transport has to be efficient and punctual. In four years, we will convert the Walled City into a smart area. We will create vending zones in ‘smart areas’. So, say, flower-sellers will have designated areas.
Can you also throw light on development plans for Udaipur, Kota and Ajmer?
In Udaipur, it is planned to start functioning of 55 projects in current financial year, which will cost around Rs 1,100 crore. The projects include public transport, smart water supply, smart parking, solor rooftop power plant and construction of control and command centre. Works of Rs 122 crore will be completed in Udaipur, while works of Rs 967 crore will be under progress before the second anniversary of smart city projects celebration.
In Kota, works worth Rs 90 crore will be completed and Rs 715 crore works will be under progress before the second anniversary of smart city projects celebration.
In Ajmer only, 38 projects will be carried out under smart city project, which include heritage conservation, painting project, open gym, cycle sharing project, e-bus project, LED lights project, construction of cultural park, statue-sculpture project, cycle and walking track project, heritage museum construction and smart class room project. Rs 95 crore would have been spent on development works before second anniversary of smart city projects, while Rs715 crore works would be under progress in Ajmer.
Why the need of Smart Raj project was felt and how would it benefit ULBs and the public?
Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) manage a large volume and range of civic services. However, shortage of staff and other resources coupled with inability to raise capital, has been a challenge to meet growing expectations from the citizens. ULBs can improve service delivery through Information Communication Technology which is being implemented through Smart Raj project.
The objective of SmartRaj project is to create a state-wide integrated system, connecting all ULBs to provide all services online through single portal. It will improve the delivery of government services to citizens and business. This is a statewide e-governance project initiated by the present government to cover all urban local bodies (ULBs) and their municipal services.
What are the goals and deadline of the project completion?
The State Government has allocated Rs125 crore to improve service delivery mechanism, transparency in governance and better information management covering all ULBs. We expect this to be completed by March 2018. Under the Smart Raj project, we have included 23 IT modules to take care of all municipal transactions, building permissions and plans, fire safety NOCs, and so on. The Smart Raj project will be integrated on a GIS platform under the GIS-mapping project. We have also deployed a state-level dedicated call centre, which had addressed more than 1 lakh complaints till March 31, 2016.
It is a single window service to citizens on anytime, anywhere basis by increasing the efficiency and productivity of ULBs and would provide timely and reliable management information for effective municipal administration. It will also improve citizen experience of the interactions with ULBs.