Names of 14 more new cities would be announced soon under the flagship ‘Smart City Mission’ which will receive the first tranche of funding, the government today said.
“Already 20 cities have been selected. Another 13 or 14 cities are going to be announced in a day or two and these will be included in the first set of cities, which will receive the first tranche of funding,” Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu told a gathering at the CII Smart City Investors Meet here.
He said there are huge opportunities for private players as the first 20 cities would requre investment to the tune of USD 7 billion.
Emphasising on the role of the private sector in the development of smart cities, Naidu said there is an urgent need to involve it and bring in their expertise and technology to meet the aspirations of the citizens in these cities.
In the backdrop of Assembly results being declared today in five states, the minister said there is a move towards stability in the states as well, which will augur well for the developmental initiatives.
Later on the sidelines of the event, he said the ground work for the first round of smart city projects have been completed and construction was expected to be begin in these cities by June 25.
“Happy that smart city mission is becoming a reality, ground work is completed, detailed project reports (DPRs) are approved, money being released for the first installment and by June 25 I would like to see smart city construciton work start in different cities,” he said.
The event was attended by ambassadors of the US, Japan, South Korea, Spain and the High Commissioner of UK, among others.
US Ambassador Richard Verma brought out the challenges for the Indian urban landscape including governance, pollution and congestion. He emphasised that these can be converted into opportunities through the Smart City Mission.
He reiterated the US’ commitment to help India in three cities - Allahabad, Ajmer and Vizag—through cooperation of some of the best of US companies.
Naidu said a lot of investors are showing interest in the public-private partnership (PPP) projects.
“They can invest in transportation, water supply, sewerage plants, alternative transport systmem... all opportunities are open,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said, the passage of Real Estate Bill by Parliament will bring in “credibility” and once the regulators are established in the states, it would bring in “correction in the negative trend” in the market.