New Town has got its first tranche of funds — Rs 50 crore — under the Centre’s Smart City project.
The township was chosen for the scheme in May 2016 but the funds only started flowing in last month after the state government changed its stand on receiving the Centre’s money for the project.
New Town will get Rs 500 crore under the programme, officials said.
The money received in the first installment has been handed over to a company — a special purpose vehicle (SPV) — that was set up in October to implement development projects under the Smart City scheme.
Sources in the state government said the company had already submitted some development proposals. “Three or four proposals have been submitted. One of them is the extension of cycle tracks in New Town. Another involves development of greenery,” a senior state government official said.
There are also proposals to New Town awaits an infrastructure upgrade create gardens on the pillars supporting the New Garia Airport Metro corridor and install LED lights along canal banks.
According to the Centre’s definition, Smart Cities are those that have the facilities that are considered basic in this day and age.
Water, power, sanitation, solid waste management, urban mobility, IT connectivity and e-governance figure on the list of basic facilities.
While participating in the Smart City challenge, the New Town authorities had proposed to develop wheelchair friendly pavements, smart bus stops that will be equipped with boards displaying real time information on the location of the buses that pass through the spot and intelligent street lights, which will turn off once the sun rises.
Some of the proposals have been executed with the state government’s money.
The Bengal cabinet had in August 2016, two months after New Town was chosen to be developed as a Smart City, decided not to take money from the Center. Sources said chief minister Mamata Banerjee was keen on developing New Town under Bengal’s Green City Mission.
Around August this year, the state government changed its stand following a realisation that it was losing a substantial amount of money.
“The money (received under the Smart City project) will help us realize the objective of the Green City Mission,” said an official of the urban development department..
Source: Telegraph India