25 May 2016 07:48:06 IST

Lucknow, Warangal among 13 new smart cities

Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu

Centre allows 7 State capitals to compete in the second round

As many as 13 more cities have bagged the ‘smart city’ tag under the government’s flagship mission, the Ministry of Urban Development announced on Tuesday.

Lucknow led the pack among the winners of the fast track competition under the mission, followed by Warangal, Dharamashala, Chandigarh, Raipur, New Town Kolkata, Bhagalpur, Panaji, Port Blair, Imphal, Ranchi, Agartala, and Faridabad.

In January this year, the top 20 winning cities under the first round were announced which covered only 12 States and Union Territories. The government had then decided to conduct a ‘fast track competition’ to offer an opportunity to the highest ranked city in each of the unrepresented 23 States and UTs.

“Now, we have also decided to give an opportunity to 7 State capitals which could not make it to the shortlist of 100 participants to compete in the smart city race,” Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said here.

These State capitals are Patna, Shimla, Naya Raipur, Itanagar, Amaravati, Bengaluru and Thiruvananthapuram.

The Minister also informed reporters that the tie between Meerut and Rai Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh and between Jammu and Srinagar in J&K in the participants shortlist will be resolved by allowing them to participate in the smart city competition and one city from each of these two States will be selected based on the quality of smart city plans.

With this, the total participants in the smart city race are now 109, against 100 proposed earlier.

Revised plans by June For the regular second round of the competition the remaining cities have to submit revised smart city plans by June end this year.

Those among the 23 cities which could not win the fast track competition — Namchi in Sikkim, Aizawl, Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh, Dehradun, Kohima, Oulgaret in Puducherry, Silvassa, Kavaratti in Lakshdweep, Diu and Shillong — can also join this second round of competition.

Operated as a centrally sponsored scheme, the Centre has proposed to financial support of ₹48,000 crore over five years, that is on an average ₹100 crore per city per year. States have to match this amount.

The project intends to promote adoption of smart solutions to enhance the quality of urban life and provide a clean and sustainable environment.

‘Satisfied with progress’ On the completion of two years, Naidu said that he was satisfied with the progress made so far.

“The new approaches introduced, the new churning at the level of urban local bodies and States/UTs, the new spirit of competition among cities and States to do better than others, the new enthusiasm and vigour being demonstrated, the new clarity of thought about outcomes and actions to be taken and the new beginning towards urban transformation in a more purposeful and holistic manner marked the process of urban renaissance,” he said.