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In bid to improve smart cities, govt to pair laggards with top performers

Urban Affairs Secretary Durga Shankar Mishra said, "There are cities that are performing very well but many are laggards. The idea is to build a sister city relationship between the top 20 and bottom 20."

By: Express News Service | Visakhapatnam | Published: January 25, 2020 12:29:15 pm
In bid to improve smart cities, govt to pair laggards with top performers An artist paints a wall in Lucknow, one of the cities picked to be developed as a smart city. (Express Photo: Vishal Srivastav)

At least 20 smart cities that are lagging behind in project implementation will be paired with top performers to provide a framework to improve their performance.

Speaking at the third apex conference of smart cities, Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary Durga Shankar Mishra said, “There are cities that are performing very well but many are laggards. The idea is to build a sister city relationship between the top 20 and bottom 20.”

The ministry had selected the first set of smart cities in January 2016. This includes Surat, Ahmedabad and Visakhapatnam.

According to ministry officials, the top performers include these three, along with Ranchi, Indore, Bhopal, Pune, Vellore, Nashik and Kanpur.

“Some are growing faster, some slower… We can team them up. We see that within the same state, some are doing well and some aren’t. We will work out the modalities and create a platform to facilitate exchange,” Mishra said.

Smart Cities Mission Director Kunal Kumar said that one key aspect while pairing cities will be relatability. ”Relatability will be key. For example, there is no sense in pairing a city with water surplus with one that is water scarce. This will be analysed before the two start to collaborate,” he said.

Under the Smart Cities project, at least one city was selected from each state and Union Territory. While 20 were selected in the first phase, the number stands at 100 now, with the last set selected in 2018. Officials said that many of those lagging behind are those which joined the framework last.

Mishra said that smart cities have to be like lighthouses.

“They are the beginning of what Indian cities will be like. Smart solutions in water, education and mobility have to be replicated in other places. The 100 smart cities are models to be replicated,” he said.

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