Is Bengaluru in the race to be a ‘Smart City’?

Bengaluru: Will Bengaluru be third time lucky? This year, the city will get yet another chance to make it to the ‘Smart City’ list. Bengaluru will have to vie for one of 19 vacant slots out of 100.

The BBMP had pitched Whitefield for the Smart City Challenge in its previous proposal. Now, other localities are also vying for the tag. Apart from Whitefield, the contenders are HSR Layout – Sarjapura, Peenya Industrial Area, Malleswaram and Yelahanka, sources in BBMP said.

BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad said that the Smart City Mission stipulated a minimum area of 500 acres, which is smaller than a ward in Bengaluru. “We are working on a combination of a geographical area for area development and a pan city smart solution for this year’s pitch,” he said. Sources said that the Jana Urban Space Foundation has been roped in as a consultant to prepare the proposal.

Lack of public consultation

T.S. Muralidhara, nodal officer, Smart City Programme, BBMP, said the agency is undertaking a gap analysis to see why the previous proposal failed.

“One of the reasons was our low score in public consultation while preparing the plan. We are planning to seek public opinion at an early stage and let people choose the locality to be pitched,” he said, adding that Bengaluru lost by 0.5 marks last time. He equated the pitch to a business proposal as it involves raising investment of Rs. 1,000 crore from the market. “Any investment needs land and the smart city mission also includes area development, which sort of rules out localities within the core city. The best options are localities that house the IT corridor.”

 Political lobbying

The last date for submitting the proposal is March 31. There us intense political lobbying for various localities, sources said. Last year too, MLAs actively campaigned for their localities. Interestingly, Whitefield, HSR Layout, Malleswaram and Yelahanka are represented by BJP legislators. A lobby within the Congress is making a pitch for one of their constituencies to be picked, turning it into a political issue, said the official.

Other areas in the fray are Shivajinagar, Old Pete and Peenya, all represented by the Congress.

BDA prefers K.G. Layout

Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) wants the new Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Layout to be pitched for the Smart City project.

“We are already working on incorporating all the latest technologies in the layout, including underground power cables and service ducts. It is going to be the first layout where we are developing commercial properties, apartments and other amenities to make it a self sustaining city, ideal to be developed into a smart city,” said P.N. Naik, Engineering Member, BDA.

Credits The Hindu

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