Whitefield, Bangalore to go smart…

Bad roads, broken pavements, overflowing drains, poor connectivity… despite all its problems, Whitefield may well become a small patch of Bengaluru to qualify for a Rs 5,847.5-crore grant under the second phase of the Smart City project.

An 8,000-acre plot of land is bidding for the grant under Narendra Modi’s pet project. If shortlisted by the Centre, this parcel of land will receive Rs 999.60 crore under the smart city project; Rs 3,500 crore for convergence; and Rs 1,347.90 crore for development under the public-private-partnership.

Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) on Wednesday approved the development of Whitefield under the smart city project. The decision came at the proverbial eleventh hour – Thursday being the last day for submitting its name – and BBMP officials complained about the short turnaround time granted to them by the Union urban development department.

The Union urban development department will be selecting 11 cities in the second stage of the smart city project.

In Bengaluru, more than 10 lakh taxpayers sent their suggestions through SMSes and social media on how Bengaluru should look like. All the suggestions were compiled by one of the nodal officers directly working under BBMP commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad.

“We had a very short period to submit details to the government. We required three months at the least but we were given only a month. Once we are selected for the smart city concept, we will prepare the detailed project report,” Prasad said.

He added that he had requested Bengaluru development minister KJ George to write a letter to Union urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu and seek more time. According to the sources, Whitefield was selected as it has the right mix of residential, commercial and office space. The civic agency plans to retrofit the area with Metro link, pedestrian crossing at every level, development of lakes, parks, green cover and other facilities.

Congress corporator MK Gunashekhar demanded that elected representatives be involved in the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which will be set up if Bengaluru city is included in the smart city concept. “Pune corporation has passed a resolution for ensuring that the elected representatives like mayor and other leaders of the house are included in the panel of SPV. The BBMP should send a similar proposal to the Union government.”

Mayor BN Manjunath Reddy said: “We have done our work. We need to wait and see how the three Union ministers from Bengaluru take this to the next level.”

Credits Bangalore Mirror

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