Six cities in the Northeast region of India, which were selected for the Smart City Mission, are reportedly lagging behind the June deadline for completion of their respective projects. The cities of Agartala, Kohima, Imphal, Aizawl, Shillong, and Gangtok were among the 100 cities selected nationwide for the Smart City Mission launched by the Government of India in 2015.
Under the Smart City Mission, the selected cities were expected to develop basic infrastructure, provide better quality of life to citizens, and promote sustainable urban development. The mission was aimed at promoting smart solutions for efficient use of resources and enhancing the quality of life of residents.
However, according to reports, the six cities in the Northeast region are facing several challenges, including land acquisition issues, lack of adequate funds, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has severely impacted the pace of work. This has led to delays in completing the projects, which were initially expected to be completed by June this year.
Earlier, on January 14, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju had said that smart cities should capture the imagination of people and focus on ‘feel-good-inducing’ interventions. The Union Law and Justice Minister said this while reviewing the progress of Smart City Projects in Itanagar and Pasighat in East Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh through a virtual meeting.
“A smart city must be smart in all senses. Having smart infrastructure is not enough; we need to onboard people to make them think and behave smartly,” he said.
While expressing his satisfaction over the progress of the projects in both the cities of the northeastern state on war-footing in the mission’s penultimate year, the Union minister called for completion of the projects as per the stipulated timeline.
“The Smart City Mission was launched with great fanfare in 2015. People had high expectations about the outcome. Therefore, it is necessary that the projects are evaluated and completed as per the stipulated timeline,” he said.
Rijiju suggested that the Smart City Mission could be converged with other government resources, architects, city planners, and designers to make Itanagar and Pasighat dream tourist destinations while offering any kind of his intervention at the Centre’s level for smooth implementation and timely delivery of the projects.
The delay in the completion of these projects is a cause for concern, as the Smart City Mission was aimed at transforming urban India and improving the quality of life of citizens. The government needs to take urgent steps to address the challenges faced by these cities and ensure that the projects are completed within the stipulated time frame.
The success of the Smart City Mission in the Northeast region of India will not only benefit the residents of these cities but also contribute to the overall development of the region. It is imperative that the government takes swift action to overcome the challenges faced by these cities and ensures that the Smart City Mission is a success in the region.
The Smart Cities Mission was launched in 2015, inviting cities to submit proposals for using technology and innovative solutions to improve waste management, mobility, e-governance, health services, and other municipal services. Once selected, the cities had five years to complete their projects.
Of the 7,742 projects proposed by the 100 selected cities, 5,002 have been completed, according to the Smart Cities Mission's official website as of March 11. Around 49 per cent of the projects are still in progress.
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