Sorry Kohima, you flunked the Smart City exam–again!
Dimapur, May 24 : Oh, well, at least the capital’s authorities appeared for the roll call. Kohima didn’t make it yet again to the winners’ list in the center’s Fast Track Competition that is currently on as part of the ambitious nationwide Smart City Program.
Closer home, even Manipur’s Imphal, once considered a wilderness plagued by corruption, arrested development and insurgent violence, was among the winners.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Urban Development announced 13 cities from as many states as winners of the Fast Track competition conducted for 23 cities from as many states and union territories. Lucknow topped the list of winners.
Announcing the winners at a media conference on the occasion of two years of the government in office, Minister of Urban Development and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation M Venkaiah Naidu said that the cities that participated in the competition improved the quality of smart city plans by up to over 25% to become eligible for selection. With the selection of these 13 cities, 25 states/union territories are now covered under Smart City Mission.
During the occasion, Naidu released a publication ‘Urban Renaissance: May,2014-May, 2016’ giving a detailed account of paradigm shift in attitudes and approaches to urban planning and governance and the major drivers of urban revival and transformation set in motion during the last two years.
Other winners of Fast Track competition were Warangal, Telanagana (13%), Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh (27%), Chandigarh (9%), Raipur, Chattisgarh (25%), New Town Kolkata (11%), Bhagalpur, Bihar (25%), Panaji, Goa (9%), Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Islands (26%), Imphal, Manipur (27%), Ranchi, Jharkhand (27%), Agartala, Tripura (25%) and Faridabad, Haryana(12%).
These 13 cities were selected based on the marks scored by them in the Fast Track competition and the bench marks set by the top
performers in the first round of Smart City Challenge competition in which the first 20 cities were selected from among 98 mission cities.
Naidu said that the 13 cities have substantially improved their smart city plans by addressing the deficiencies identified in the first round of competition by ensuring better profiling of respective cities in terms of infrastructure gaps and baseline service levels, ensuring consistency between citizens’ aspirations and action plans, more feasible resource mobilization plans and coordinated and integrated picture of how individual projects will contribute to area level changes.
Other cities that participated in Fast Track Competition were: Namchi, Sikkim and ranked 14, Aizawl, Mizoram(15), Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh(16), Dehradun, Uttarakhand (17), Kohima, Nagaland(18), Oulgaret, Puducherry(19), Silvassa, Dadra, Nagar & Haveli(20), Kavaratti, Lakshdweep (21), Diu, Daman & Diu(22) and Shillong, Meghalaya(23). These cities can submit their revised smart city plans for evaluation in the second round of regular competition underway by the end of June.
The minister also informed further that the central assistance toward improving basic infrastructure in the urban areas has been
increased to Rs.1,13,143 crore under the new urban missions as against only Rs.33,902 crore during 2004-14. For affordable housing for urban poor, a central assistance of Rs.10,050 crore has already been approved as against only Rs.17,889 crore during the previous ten years, he said.