India names 20 cities for $7.5 billion smart makeover

Published: January 28, 2016
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Labourers work at the construction site of a residential complex on the outskirts of Kolkata, India in this January 23, 2016 file photo. PHOTO: REUTERS

Labourers work at the construction site of a residential complex on the outskirts of Kolkata, India in this January 23, 2016 file photo. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI: India named 20 cities on Thursday which it says will be provided with uninterrupted power and water supplies, proper sanitation and public transport in a $7.5 billion makeover to turn them into smart cities with living standards comparable to Europe.

India’s cities lack basic infrastructure such as toilets and are bursting at the seams with the influx of tens of thousands of people from the countryside. Thirteen of them are in the WHO’s list of the 20 most polluted cities in the world, topped by the capital New Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed to create 100 new smart cities by 2022 that will have internet connectivity, e-governance along with quality infrastructure such as waste management and efficient public transport.

Modi calls for world-class city in southern India

The plan is also intended to boost investment and create jobs for millions of people, but it has faced criticism for being a slow starter.

The federal government has struggled to pass reform legislation making it easier to acquire land and build roads and it was not immediately clear how it would be able to provide high-quality infrastructure to these cities within five years.

On Thursday, Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu named the first set of cities that will be targeted for a transformation.

These include Chennai in the south, which was ravaged by floods last year because of flawed urban planning, as well as a part of New Delhi. Other proposed smart cities are the tourist destinations of Jaipur and Udaipur and Bhubaneswar in the east.

India builds first “smart” city as urban population swells

“This game-changing mission marks the end of a business-as-usual approach,” Naidu told a news conference. About 35 million people live in the 20 cities.

Reader Comments (4)

  • Abdullah khan
    Jan 28, 2016 - 9:47PM

    Its peanuts for these city more than $200 billions are require only to clean GangaRecommend

  • Re Peter
    Jan 29, 2016 - 2:12AM

    a “makeover to turn them into smart cities with living standards comparable to Europe.”… if only it could be done for 7.5 billion or 75 billion or 750 billion ! In the end, it is total fantasy which does not take into account that Indians are not Europeans.

    Perhaps the Modi government should tackle the real problem of severe pollution in more than seven Indian cities.Recommend

  • indian
    Jan 29, 2016 - 11:05AM

    Pakistanis reacting like their cities are world class.Recommend

  • Indian Friend
    Jan 29, 2016 - 11:28AM

    @Abdullah khan: it’s a beginning my friend. We have to start from a point if we want to reach some where :)Recommend

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