The three cities from Andhra Pradesh that were identified to become the viable choices for India’s Smart Cities Challenge have finally nailed the stage 1 process. Vizag, Kakinada and Tirupati have successfully made it to the stage 2 list of the challenge. The smart city drive that is conducted by the Union Ministry of Urban Development will fund Rs 500 Cr to the cities that make it to the final round to become smart city projects.
Sri N Chandrababu Naidu is still not happy with just three nominations from his state. The CM is trying to transform 13 more cities at a state level initiative and has been working on the same. Recently, Nellore was approved to be funded by the CII for the developmental purposes in lines with smart city concept.
The shortlisted cities will now submit their master plans to progress and qualify at the Stage 2 process of the smart cities challenge. The contest is tight and severe, with nationwide cities vying to get the spot for the massive funding and progress that comes as an outcome of this drive. The center will finalise on 20 cities out of the 98 that are on table right now. These cities will slowly progress towards stage 2 where more eliminations would be done to zero on the final names.
As part of the Smart City development plan, a three category approach will be put in place –
1. Retrofitting plan under less than 500 acres
2. Redevelopment – not less than 200 acres and;
3. Green development in not less than 50 acres.
State government of AP has opted for retrofitting plan and strategy is largely to attract private investors in public private partnership mode. AP has decided to not just rely on the center’s plan to extend Rs.500 crore to those selected and move on to consider more options that will rope in private investors, both national and international.
CII which has selected Nellore recently for its smart city plan, will now also aid in facilitating private investments to Kakinada and Tirupati. USTDA (US Trade and Development Agency) on the other hand, will extended its cooperation to transform Vizag into a smart city. A grant agreement will be signed soon to this effect.
Besides the above, another Australian government agency has come forward with a gesture to develop Kurnool by way of private investors. Yokohama City Council of Japan has also conveyed earlier that it will in all likelihood collaborate with AP govt to make Kakinada a smart city, along with the GMR group.