SMART CITIES FAIL TO MAKE ANY PROGRESS

New Delhi : The ambitious smart cities mission of the government has “failed to make remarkable progress” as only 5 per cent of the proposed projects are completed so far, according to Anarock Property Consultants.

The smart cities mission, launched in 2015, aims to tackle the escalating problems in urban areas with regards to transportation, energy supply, governance, basic urban infrastructure services and overall quality of life.

“Although the mission is trying to address these issues to a certain ex-tent, the challenges of remodelling India’s tier-I cities into smart cities are considerable, as many of them have reached their saturation point,” Anarock Property Consultants vice chairman Santhosh Kumar said.

“This does raise questions about whether the development of smart cit-ies by 2020 is a realistic expectation,” he said.

Kumar further said there are various bottlenecks, including land acquisi-tion, buy-in from resistant stakeholders, among others, which is prevent-ing the speedy implementation of these projects.

“Apart from the slow implementation, it is also a fact that smart citizens are an integral part of the smart city ecosystem. With more active citi-zen participation in such government initiatives at the implementation and not only end-user level, the pace of smart city development in India could theoretically be faster,” Kumar added.

According to Anarock, while many of the bigger cities have managed to enlist themselves under the smart city scheme, it is, in fact, the smaller contenders who have managed to show visible progress.

In the recent smart city rankings released by the ministry of urban de-velopment, the tier-II smart cities of Nagpur, Vadodara and Ahmedabad topped the charts, leaving behind tier 1 cities such as Pune, Chennai and many others.

“Smaller cities have more to gain from the smart cities program, and a strong, determined local government can push the necessary reforms much more expediently there, than in the metros. Of course, the larger cities are invariably already massively congested, thereby presenting huge roadblocks to the deployment of the requisite smart city ingredi-ents,” he added.

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