Setting the process in motion for its bid to be selected as one the first 20 smart cities in the country, Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) on Friday began public consultation in form of an open competition for developing a vision for Rajkot city, ahead of preparing its Smart City Proposal (SCP).
Rajkot municipal commissioner Vijay Nehra and RMC standing committee chairman Nitin Bhardwaj held a press conference and announced the beginning of the civic body’s preparations for second round pan-India competition for smart cities.
The commissioner requested citizens to take part in the open competition by sending their suggestions, opinions or views on vision for Rajkot city, goals to translate that vision into reality and strategy to achieve those goals.
City residents may email their vies to the civic body at email@example.com. One can also post, courier or hand over in person his written view to City Engineer, Room No. 10, JnNURM Cell, First Floor, RMC West Zone Office, behind Big Bazar, 150 feet Ring Road, Rajkot latest by September 25.
The RMC will select around 50 of best suggestions and invite their senders to a workshop on September 29 for more clarity and explanations on those views. The winners will be declared on October 2. The first prize carries cash award worth Rs 25,000, second Rs 15,000 and third Rs 10,000.
“Based on inputs of first-round public consultation, we shall devise area-specific and pan-city plans for SCP. We shall identify specific goals and ask citizens again in October, as part of second-round public consultation, to prioritise those goals and suggest strategies for their achievement. After that, with help of consultant, we shall come up with a comprehensive draft plan for smart city in November and invite suggestions and comments from public before one more time before finalising the SCP,” Nehra said.
The municipal commissioner further said that besides indirect consultations with public through emails and letters, civic body will also hold direct consultation with people by holding public meetings at ward levels and inviting focus groups, like hawkers, for discussion.
Rajkot had cleared the first round of Smart City initiative of Central government when it succeeded to figure in the first list of 98 cities from across the country announced last month
Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Vadodara, Surat and Dahod are the other five cities from Gujarat which have also made it to the list. Under the Smart City initiative, each of the selected city will get Rs 500 crore from Central government and a matching contribution by respective state government over the next five year.
However, in the current year, only 20 cities will get Rs 400 crore each. These 20 cities will be selected on the basis of their SCPs which will have to be submitted to Union Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) by mid-December.
The guidelines issued by MoUD for preparing SCPs outline 24 characteristics of a smart city including citizens’ participation, unique identity and culture, economy and employment, mixed use of land etc.
“The clinching factor in SCP will be citizens’ participation and public consultation. In other parameters, Rajkot is ahead of other cities. So, if citizens’ contribution remains pervasive, our selection as one of the first 20 cities is certain. Otherwise, we shall run two years late because we will have to wait for the third-round competition to select 40 cities the next year,” Nehra said.
State government has appointed ICRA Management Consulting Services Limited, a New Delhi-based firm, as consultant for Rajkot for Smart City initiative. The firm is currently conducting a baseline survey to ascertain the ground-reality in the city on various parametres.