The city’s administration and public representatives have geared up to the challenge of getting Faridabad into the first 20 smart cities’ list
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi made it clear to the people here that it was not easy to get Faridabad into the list of first 20 smart cities, the district administration and the common citizens have geared up and started holding consultations at grassroots level.
From left, Seema Trikha, KP Gurjar, Amit Kumar Aggarwal and Ashok Sharma discussed the smart city issue during a meeting in Faridabad.
Earlier during a rally in Sector 12, when speakers including the Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar mentioned about Faridabad figuring in the list of 98 Smart cities, Modi said, “It is not easy to get into the list of the first 20 smart cities. The people of Faridabad have to decide if they want to develop Faridabad into a smart city or not. You will have to accept the rules formed for getting the status.” He continued, “But I am sure and confident that the people of Faridabad will accept the challenge in terms of the guidelines framed for the smart city concept.” Modi was here in connection with the flagging off of Faridabad Metro corridor on September 6.
After the PM gave the bitter pill to the people of Faridabad over smart city status, the administration, public representatives and a vast section of people from various backgrounds have geared up to the task. Union Minister and Faridabad MP Krishan Pal Gurjar also considered it was really a challenge to find slot among first 20 Smart Cities and he too held meeting of district officers including deputy commissioner Amit Aggarwal, MCF Commissioner Ashok Sharma etc to suggest ways and methods how to mobilize public opinion, generate public awareness about Smart City concept.
The MCF has been on a campaign trail since then, holding interactive sessions with various organizations, industry bodies, Resident Welfare Associations etc. As the interactive sessions kick-started, more and more stakeholders are coming forward to take the plunge.
A number of representatives of Faridabad Industries Association and Small Scale Industries made their detailed presentations before the civic officials sharing their views on the smart city issue.
Ashok Sharma expressed his confidence that having been shortlisted in the 98 smart cities, Faridabad could figure in the list of first 20 smart cities. However, he added that to achieve this target all stakeholders will have to work jointly and in a coordinated manner and the industry owners will have to play a pivotal role.
Addressing the members of the Faridabad Industries Association, the commissioner sought the suggestions of the entrepreneurs as to how they visualise a smart city so that the project report can be made more inclusive and objective.
He further added that 24-hours water supply, an effective sewage system, good solid waste management, 24-hours power supply, progressive education system, adequate and safe parking facilities and efficient system for redressal of grievances are some of the indicators of a smart city. The industry can contribute by dutifully paying their dues and also undertake expenses through CSR route by constructing toilets or promoting education etc.
The commissioner stated that as on today only 50% of the water connections are legal and out of this only 10% connection holders pay their bills regularly yet all expect water supply round the clock. It is a fact that consequent to the withdrawal of Octroi (charges), the MCF lost a regular revenue of ` 500 crore, while the expenditure has increased over ` 500 crore. He quoted people comparing themselves with Bengaluru saying we must remember that not only their population is half of Faridabad their annual Municipal Budget is also ` 7,000 crore and as per this estimate our budget should be ` 14,000 crore.
Sharma stated that the overall budget estimated for a smart city is ` 6,000 crore of which ` 500 crore each will be provided by Centre and State Government and the balance ` 5,000 crore will have to be generated locally.
Earlier Navdeep Chawla, president of Faridabad Industries Association, while welcoming all, stated that creating smart cities is a very timely initiative because it is estimated that by 2030 about 60% of the population will be living in urban areas.
He added that the concept of public-private partnership will have to be adopted for making this initiative successful; all residents, traders, industries and organizations like RWAs, NGOs will have to actively participate to realize the dream of a smart city.
In another such meeting with Small Industries Association, the municipal authorities disclosed that as per the directions issued by the Government of India towards smart city challenge stage-2, this corporation has to brief different groups of societies/ associations/ organizations about the vision, goals and ideas of a smart city for inviting suggestions and proposals from them.
“We are doing many things at our own level and similarly MCF too is doing much and this awakening is limited to a small sector, so this interactive session with municipal authorities was fruitful and will help in identifying real areas on which more need to be done for making this city smart in real terms”, said Jaya Goyal, chairperson of women wing of Faridabad Small Industries Association.
The office bearers of the association present in the meeting were further briefed that the smart city mission is to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people of Faridabad by enabling local area development and harnessing technology, especially technology that leads to smart outcomes.