The Haryana government is likely to pick up Gurgaon as one of the two smart cities in the state, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said on Saturday. Gurgaon and Faridabad are in the running for the state’s nomination for the India Smart Cities Challenge that PM Narendra Modi announced last Thursday.
An official said parameters like infrastructure, education, medical facilities, electricity and water will be considered during the selection process and state governments will nominate cities by July-end.
However, experts feel winning the tag of a smart city will not be a cakewalk as Gurgaon will now have to compete in an intra-city competition as part of a two-stage test. “As a result of the haphazard real estate boom, the city is yet to solve its problems of power, water and transport. The basic requirement for a smart city is geographic information system, which is clearly missing in the city,” a senior Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon official said.
The ground water level has gown down by 175 feet to 200 feet and the situation is getting worse in Old Gurgaon, where people are relying on water tankers. Water extraction from borewells at some places is only making the situation worse, he said.
The official said Gurgaon will have to draft a Smart City Proposal and include points like adequate water and power supply, existing transportation system and plan to further enhance it, affordable housing and inclusiveness, promoting green transport and making governance citizen-friendly. Gurgaon administration may boost some developments like the Rapid Metro and its further plans to extend it to Old Gurgaon.
However, the pressing problem of insufficient water and power supply can be a real test for the city, the official said. “Water shortage and erratic power cuts among other infrastructural developments require about Rs 500 crore to be solved. Where will we get the funds from?” he said.
The civic body of Gurgaon is planning a round-the-clock water supply scheme. The city bus service and other transportation plans are being improved. As for power supply, the Power Grid Corporation of India and Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam have started work on a plan to provide 24-hour power supply on the public-private partnership model.