Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi along with holy cities of Amritsar and Ajmer have made it to the list of 27 new smart cities.
Under the Smart City Mission, the government aims to have 100 smart cities by 2022.
Varanasi is one of the three cities, others being Agra and Kanpur, from Uttar Pradesh which goes to the polls next year, which are part of the list of new smart cities. The 27 cities, including Madurai, were selected after three rounds of competition, with the total number selected under Smart City Mission standing at 60. Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said the new 27 smart cities proposed projects worth Rs. 66,883 crore under Smart City Mission, including Rs. 42,524 crore under area-based development and Rs.11,379 crore for technology-based pan-city solutions.
“With this, the total investment proposed by the 60 cities selected so far has gone up to Rs.1,44,742 crore,” he said.
Tourist and pilgrimage destinations such as Amritsar, Ujjain, Agra, Ajmer and Triupati have all been incorporated into the programme.
“Inclusion of cities like Agra, Amritsar, Ujjain will boost the tourism sector as well as bring up these cities on the global tourism map. The smart cities concept would lead to well-planned urbanisation with aesthetic beauty comparable to international standards,” said Parveen Jain, president of National Real Estate Development Council (Naredco).
With five cities, Maharashtra has the highest number of cities on the list. The 27 new cities are from 12 States, including four each from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, three from Uttar Pradesh and two each from Punjab and Rajasthan. Nagaland and Sikkim have made it to the list for the first time.
“Competition-based selection has made the cities rediscover themselves as they are undertaking a thorough assessment of gaps in the present levels of infrastructure and service delivery and come out with comprehensive, credible and actionable plans for area-based development and technology-based pan-city solutions,” Mr. Naidu said.