Smart cities’ contours to be visible in six months: Minister

New Delhi, June 7 (IANS) Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep S. Puri on Thursday said the 99 designated smart cities in the country, which entail an investment of nearly Rs 2 lakh crore, will start showing visible signs of excellence in the next six months.

“This project was announced in 2015 and is due for completion in 2022, but between June and December we will begin to see their physical manifestation and I think that is already obvious,” Puri said as he talked of achievements of his ministry in the last four years.

“In the next few days, we are making arrangements to inaugurate the 10th Integrated Control and Command Centre (ICCC). These are cutting edge, state-of-the-art technology centres which integrate all urban services on one huge screen, making it possible to use technology for providing ease of living to all including the disabled, women and children with security features and others,” said the minister.

Puri said it takes 15 to 18 months for a smart city project to get underway as it takes that much time to appoint a project management consultant (PMC) and to establish a special purpose vehicle (SPV). Most of the 99 smart cities already have a PMC and an SPV, he said.

At the time of his joining the Union Council of Ministers in September 2017, the amount of expenditure incurred on the smart cities at that stage was Rs 8,000 crore. “By May 2018, it became Rs 30,000 crore and at the end of December it would be Rs 50,000 crore,” Puri said.

In May, the Madhya Pradesh government launched the country’s first cloud-based ICCC for all its seven smart cities. The ICCC would enable the government to monitor and control various citizen services like smart lighting, parking, traffic, waste management and water supply from a single platform.

“I have good basis to believe that another 14 of these ICCCs will be operational very soon,” he said.

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