Another batch of ‘Smart Cities’ was unveiled by Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu Friday in which Kerala capital Thiruvananthapuram topped the list. Other state capitals and major cities that have found a spot on the list are Patna, Bengaluru, Amaravati, Srinagar, Gandhinagar, Shimla, Dehradun, Jammu, Allahabad and Gangtok. A total of 90 cities for Smart City status have now been announced with a proposed investment of Rs 1,91,155 crore.
“The concept of smart cities has redefined the urban discourse in our country like no other idea and initiative,” said Naidu.
One city that was conspicuous by its absence in the list was Mumbai, the country’s financial capital and one that’s ruled by a civic body led by the Shiv Sena that has a budget of Rs 25,000 crore. The BMC has decided not to be part of the Centre’s flagship programme. The BMC’s reservations revolve around the mission guidelines that they believe will weaken the hold of the civic body on the programme.
In the last round of competition, Mumbai had submitted a conditional proposal where it had chosen to put majority of its mission funding in the highrise-lined commercial business district of Lower Parel-Mahalaxmi.
Since January 2016, names of 60 cities have been announced in three rounds of competition. Of these, New Town Kolkata withdrew after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee decided she would create ‘Green Cities’ without the Centre’s mission funding.