Can Faridabad be a Smart City?
After PM Narendra Modi's announcement last week, the city is gearing up to take the challenge and be a part of India's 100 Smart City list
We are confident Faridabad will meet all parameters that have been fixed for getting a city included in the list of Smart Cities. MP KRISHEN PAL GURJAR, MoS Social Justice and Empowerment
Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently launched Smart Cities Mission where the government will develop 100 smart cities with representation from all parts of the country. But getting into the list of Smart Cities is not an easy job. Almost all segments of the society, especially municipal officials, administrators, general public, industries, political leadership, etc from the aspiring smart city has to work hard to compete in the India Smart Cities Challenge.
Considering its population and quantum of revenue generation, officials hope that the industrial township of Faridabad should be included in the list of Smart Cities.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said that on the basis of their population, two smart cities would be developed in Haryana for which parameters have been set and a survey would be conducted by July 21 .The industrial township of Faridabad is presumed to be included in the list of proposed Smart Cities, considering its population and quantum of revenue generation. But due to some other factors, it seems tough and the officials, industry people and political leadership here have geared up to clear the mess first and then lobby for Smart City status.
Although Haryana has forwarded names of four prospective Smart Cities, experts believe only two—Gurgaon and Faridabad— will fulfill the criteria set under the Smart Cities Mission.
On Monday, Union Minister of state for Social Justice and Empowerment and Faridabad MP Krishen Pal Gurjar discussed the Smart City issue at a highlevel meeting which was attended by almost the entire bureaucracy and local legislators. Though the meeting was related to District-level Vigilance and Monitoring Committee (DVMC), the issue of how Faridabad meets all the parameters to bag the Smart City project featured prominently.
The minister directed the officers that all encroachments on government lands be removed immediately; and in cases where the electricity department had given connections to these encroached lands, these should be disconnected immediately.
The minister, it is said, also asked the civic officers present in the meeting that management of solid waste has to be done in such a manner that mountains of garbage and other waste should not be visible in the city. All these steps, the sources said were discussed as Gurjar is in a hurry since the Union Urban Development Ministry has fixed some parameters which the prospective Smart City has to meet.
“Yes, we have to gear up to bag the Smart City status for Faridabad and we focussed on this issue with the officialsals today,” said Gurjar. “We are cononfident Faridabad will meet allall parameters that have been fixed ed for getting any city included in the list of proposed Smart Cities,” he added.
It may be mentioned that any city, recommended by the state government/Union territories has to fulfill a number of parameters like existing service/ institutional service( capabilities)/ self financing/ past track record and reforms and out of hundred marks, the cities have to score high to get the Smart City status.
The India Smart Cities challenge is a competition designed to inspire and support municipal officials as they develop smart proposals to improve the lives of residents. One hundred cities will compete in the first round with the best proposals receiving funds from the ministry of urban development.
One of the criteria for bagging the Smart City tag, which carries five marks, is payment of salaries by Urban Local Bodies (ULB) up to last month. “We have paid our employees their salaries for June,” said Ashok Sharma, commissioner of Municipal Corporation of Faridabad (MCF). “Even the 59 employees who retired on June 30 have been paid their dues that amounted to 6 crore,” said Sharma, adding, “this was not the case earlier when the retired staffers would have to wait for months together to get their dues.” Another parameter which carries five marks focuses on a functional and user-friendly online grievance redressal system. The MCF Commissioner said this system is already up in Faridabad. As the collection of internally generated revenue ( taxes, fees, charges, etc) during the last three financial years (2012-15) carries 10 marks, Sharma said that revenue collection per month has gone up to almost 20 crore against 12 crore per month a few months ago. There are many other income-generating sources like Haryana Urban Development Authority, Transport, revenue department, etc.
“We have formed a panel of experts to build pressure on the government to get Faridabad included in the list of Smart Cities,” said Navdeep Chawla, president of Faridabad Industries Association. “Faridabad contributes 14 percent of Haryana’s GDP and in case Faridabad misses this, it will turn into the biggest slum in the country. But we will not allow this to happen, our people are on the job” he added.
“We are meeting the urban minister to ensure Faridabad gets Smart city Status,” said Vipul Goel, MLA Faridabad.
Delivering the keynote address as the chief guest at the 62nd Annual General Meeting of the Faridabad Industries Association a on last Thursday (the day when the Prime Minister unveiled the Smart Cities mission) Rana Kapoor, president, ASSOCHAM and MD and CEO, YES BANK said, “The winds of change are indeed visible in Faridabad. As a Smart City, it is ideally positioned to lead the manufacturing renaissance of Haryana, given its prime geographic and political location.” But slums, poor drainage system and encroachments in Faridabad are some of the issues that have started worrying the government.