Smart Cities setting a new benchmark in terms of project implementation: Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of Housing & Urban Affairs
Hardeep Puri , MoS(I/C) Housing and Urban Affairs, urged the Smart City CEOs to learn from experience & practices of other city leaders to accelerate the progress of smart city missions across the country. He was speaking while inaugurating the two day ‘First Apex Conference for CEOs of Smart Cities’ alongwith Shivraj Singh Chouhan , Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh in Bhopal today. Terming the the flagship missions of the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry as an comprehensive and systematic effort of planned urbanisation undertaken under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Puri said that the Ministry is well on it’s way to achieve the targets before stipulated time. Mayor of Bhopal city and senior officers from state and central govt were also present at the event.
Addressing the event, Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that the nation is undergoing a positive transformation under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi and Madhya Pradesh has embarked on an accelerated growth path in all sectors. Appreciating the work done by the state UD ministry in enabling a transformative change in the cities of MP from Swachhta to Smart city missions, he assured that in next two months Integrated Command and Control Centres in all the 7 smart cities in Madhya Pradesh would be established.The Integrated Control and Command Center of Bhopal Smart City in Govindpura was also inaugurated today making it the 9th Smart city centre to be operational in the country.
Speaking on the momentum of Smart City Mission(SCM), Puri said that the SCM is setting a new benchmark in terms of project implementation. The value of projects under implementation in August 2017 was about Rs. 8,000 crore which after eight months has increased to more than Rs. 30,000 crore involving 936 projects. Further, about 400 projects costing Rs. 20,000 crore are in tender stage, which would be settled over a next 2-3 months. He said that 98 projects costing Rs. 6000 crore are under implementation with Public Private Partnership which are getting good responses not only in the big cities but even in the smaller towns.He said in the last eight months 26 more SPVs were established, taking the total SPVs to 91 and total number of PMCs to 67. Regarding the Smart City centres he informed that while 9 have become operational including in Bhopal, work is in progress to develop Smart City Centers in another 14 cities and tenders have been issued in 32 more cities.
Puri said that Jan Andolan and Jan Bhagidari should be an essential ingredient of all Government programmes and Missions and there is a need to involve stakeholders having expertise in a variety of fields to contribute to the larger domain of Smart cities. He announced the setting up of Advisory Committees on 9 themes, viz. Entrepreneurship and Start-ups; Women Empowerment, Safety, and Security; Smart Education and Skill Development; Divyang Friendly Measures and Policy Recommendations; Septage and Sewage Management; Promotion of Public Art; Urban Mobility and Climate Change; Arts and Culture; and Smart Security with an aim to bring on board expertise from outside the practitioner’s domain, and adopt a holistic approach to urbanization. He further urged city administrators to keep the younger generation involved in creative and innovative ways in these Smart city projects in form of internship for final year and Post graduate students in the engineering, Planning and Architecture disciplines.
An exhibition showcasing the different projects being undertaken by Cities under Smart Cities Mission was also inaugurated. The conference will have panel discussions under Smart Cities Mission across key thematic areas viz., (i) Development of Walkable Streets, (ii) Creation of Universally Accessible Public Spaces, (iii) Digitally Integrated Smart City Centers, (iv) Creating Vibrant Urban Spaces such as Squares, Plazas and Waterfront Developments under Area Based Development, (v) Addressing Women Safety in Smart Cities, (vi) Promotion of Arts Crafts and Culture in Smart Cities, (vii) Smart Education and Skill Development, (viii) Inclusive Cities and (ix) Bonds and PPPs for financing urban infrastructure. As part of these panel discussions, Smart City CEOs implementing projects under above thematic areas will share their experiences through presentations and short videos.
The two day Apex Conference is being organized with an objective to provide momentum to the cities and also a platform for cross-learning, sharing and disseminating the experience gained over the past two and a half years. The exhibition and presentations by the CEOs will provide useful insights for accelerating project implementation and enable cross learning among Smart Cities. Such knowledge sharing will help the cities to convert ideas into concrete actions as the outcome of the conference. Apart from the Smart City CEOs, the participants include representatives from municipal, State and Central Government and various other stakeholders in the Smart City Mission from the civil society, academia, industry etc. The list of invitees includes Principal Secretaries (UD)/State Mission Directors, Municipal Commissioners, Ambassadors of several countries, UN representatives, heads of multilateral/bilateral agencies, civil societies, and capacity building institutes. CEOs/heads of major Master System Indicator vendors are also invited.