With the Union urban development department issuing guidelines for the ‘Smart City’ initiative, Pune city will have to get its act together to be among the top 10 cities from the state that would make it to the list of 100 smart cities across the country.
“The allocation of number of cities that will make it to the list of 100 smart cities is based on the population of the state. Maharashtra will have 10 cities in the list of 100 smart cities,” said a civic officer.
As per the guidelines, the purpose of the Smart Cities Mission is to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local area development and harnessing technology, especially that leads to smart outcomes.
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The core infrastructure elements in a Smart City would include adequate water supply, assured electricity supply, sanitation, solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, affordable housing, robust IT connectivity and digitalisation, good governance, especially e-Governance and citizen participation, sustainable environment, safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly, and health and education.
“If included in the list of smart cities, the Union government will give a seed fund of Rs 100 crore every year to the city for taking up projects that would improve living conditions and achieve the goals of a smart city,” said a PMC officer. He said the projects would have to be undertaken by raising funds from various sources, which can be done through loans, public-private participation, municipal bonds from market etc.
The city will have to seek government approval for projects, the main aim of which would be comprehensive development by promoting mixed land use, said the civic officer.
The housing opportunities for all would be included in the programme and creation of walkable localities would be encouraged. This would reduce congestion, air pollution and resource depletion, and boost local economy, promote interactions and ensure security, he said.
The road network would not only be for vehicles and public transport, but also for pedestrians and cyclists, he added. He said necessary administrative services would be offered within walking distance and the development of open spaces to enhance of quality of life would be a priority. The city would have to make provision for effective transport options and the governance should be citizen-friendly with optimum use of latest communication means, he added.