Panaji makes it to the smart cities list

Panaji : Finally, Panaji has made it to the smart city list. Tuesday’s announcement by Union minister for parliamentary affairs Venkaiah Naidu placed the state’s capital among the top 13 cities selected from a list of 23.

The cities competed in the fast track mode of the Smart City Mission. Lucknow, Warangal, Dharamsala, Chandigarh, Raipur, New Town Kolkata, Bhagalpur, Port Blair, Imphal, Ranchi, Agartala and Faridabad also made it to the list.

Goa government’s Rs 1,775 crore proposal was judged on its credibility of implementation, city vision and strategy, economic and environmental impact, cost effectiveness, innovation and scalability. Panaji MLA Sidharth Kuncalienker said Rs 80 crore had already been budgeted for the proposal in the first year and added that a special purpose vehicle, as per the Smart City Mission guidelines, will be formed.

The taxes of Panaji citizens will not increase, Kuncalienker said, pointing out that there won’t be any financial burden to citizens under the Smart City Mission. It is up to the corporation of the city of Panaji (CCP) to decide on hiking taxes, he said.

Stating that the city’s solid waste management will have to be looked at smartly, with the present mismatch between collection and disposal of garbage being synchronized and the shortest route for collection of garbage chalked out, Kuncalienker added that bus services within the city and on its outskirts would be improved with four interlinked loops connecting Panaji, Bambolim, Dona Paula, St Cruz and Merces including one intercity loop connecting 18 th June Road and other areas within the city.

Earlier in the year Panaji had failed to make it to the list of top 20 cities selected. The Panaji MLA said Panaji’s bid was improved considerably from its original bid. “We just reinvented our proposal and this is a proud moment for Panaji. We lost out on minor points the last time. This time when our proposal was evaluated we were told that we improved by nine percent,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

St Inez Creek won’t form part of the Smart City Proposal. A tender was floated to redesign the bridge and culvert over the creek, but it received only one bid, which didn’t qualify. The project will be re-tendered he said, adding that it would help in tidal flushing of the creek.

Panaji’s smart city proposal will not generate any direct employment. If the city becomes lively and attracts tourists then it will automatically attract more businesses, Kuncalienker said.

Credits Times of India

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