Contracts already awarded for smart cities will bear visible results by June 2018, Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Thursday.
Speaking at the 33rd India Economic Summit, being jointly organised by the World Economic Forum and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Puri said, “Hundreds of thousands of crores worth of contracts have already been awarded and work is in full swing”.
The minister’s comments attain significance since only 6.3 per cent of all projects sanctioned under the Smart Cities Mission were under implementation till July. Of the 2,895 projects worth Rs 1.3 lakh crore, only 181 projects valued at Rs 6,413 crore were under active implementation back then, data assessed by Business Standard had revealed.
With an eye on promoting sustainable and inclusive cities with good core infrastructure and sustainable development policies, the government had in June 2015 announced the Smart Cities Mission. So far, as part of the plan to develop a total of 100 such cities, 90 have been shortlisted in the first three rounds of the mission. This includes cities that currently have Tier-II status but are expected to become metropolises within the next five years such as Kochi, Raipur, Bhubaneswar and Amritsar.
Puri said the remaining 10 cities would be chosen shortly.
The government has already cleared around Rs 48,000 crore for the Smart City initiative and Rs 50,000 crore for the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation. Earlier, reports had suggested that senior urban development ministry officials had asked state governments to stick to the deadline and commence work by November 2017. Puri, however, said the government was working actively with all stakeholders to finish the mission on time and is also committed to construct houses for all citizens by 2022, another plan by the government that has received flak for slow implementation.
On the Smart Cities Mission, the central government pays the qualified cities Rs 100 crore every year and the state government contributes another Rs 100 crore. The rest of the cost is collected through government bonds or the private-public-partnership method.
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