Smart cities in Gujarat: A step towards excellence in infrastructural development

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Smart cities in Gujarat: A step towards excellence in infrastructural development:

Chatbot systems, Smart Transit Management Systems, all-in-one prepaid Janmitra Card – sounds fascinating, doesn’t it?

The concept of smart cities, although new to India, has been making waves all across the country ever since its introduction. Gujarat, being one of the most progressive Indian states, has been quick to adopt the development approach and is on the way to achieve the benchmark by developing Ahmedabad as a smart city.

Key people in Gujarat’s infrastructural development are of the belief that it’s important to provide the people some clarity regarding the idea of smart cities before implementing it. However, according to Diamond Power MD Amit Bhatnagar, ‘smart city’ is more of a direction rather than a fixed definition. It varies from state to state, city to city and people to people.

Throwing some light upon the smart cities mission in Gujarat, the Diamond Power MD stated that the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MOHUA) has selected six cities from the state of Gujarat for the mission. Being a beneficiary of the development project, the state of Gujarat received a total sum of Rs 509 crore for development of six smart cities in the state.

Various projects including Integrated Command & Control Centres, Intelligent Transit Management System, Riverfront development, Smart Roads, rejuvenation of water bodies, walking paths, smart classrooms, upgradation of health facilities and skill development centreshave been initiated under the smart cities mission in the state.

One of the smart cities in making, Ahmedabad is the largest city in Gujarat. Currently, there are four SEZ’s in the city region, with another three new industrial estates in the pipeline by the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC). In terms of transport infrastructure, Ahmedabad has a successful BRT system in operation, and a proposed metro rail set to open soon.

Rakesh Shankar, CEO-SPV (Smart City), Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation stated in his interview with BW Smart Cities that the smart city mission project is well on the track. Lot of civil works are going on in the city. According to Shankar, its impacts will be visible in the coming few months. According to him, the progress on ‘Safe Ahmedabad project’ can modernize the traffic movement in the city. The whole project boasts of command and control system, red light violation detection system, traffic management, smart parking and the IOT project.

However, every coin has two sides. While a lot of progress is being made towards the completion of smart city mission, the feat comes with its own set of challenges. According to Diamond Power MD Amit Bhatnagar, retrofitting work is a great challenge. He reinstated the importance of the existing infrastructure, saying that it needs just as much attention and maintenance from the civic bodies as the new projects.