What does it really involve for Bangalore?

By REVATHI SIVA KUMAR

Even as the leaden, monsoon skies are darkening over an overgrown metro, many might be surprised to learn that Bengaluru was added to the ‘Smart City’ list in June 2017. It became the seventh city from Karnataka to get into the Smart City list. But, there is still delay in implementation.

It is a big project, after all, says AR Ravi, Joint Director (Planning), Urban Development Department (UDD). Just the planning and the setting up of the machinery is taking time. It requires the establishment of a corporate-like Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which is headed by a full-time CEO to implement the Smart Cities Mission. Various projects can be put into place through joint ventures, subsidiaries, public-private partnerships (PPP), turnkey contracts, and well-fitted revenue streams.

Seven cities in Karnataka were allocated Rs 14,000 crore. Namma Ooru Bengaluru is among the 30 cities that were categorised under this label, and Rs 1,700 crore were allocated. The nearby areas, cities and towns around Bengaluru are expected to grow as a result of a “trickle-down effect”.

Bengaluru’s Smart City hot spots
At first, the planning does not seem to be different from the bigger Masterplan for the city, as they seem to be addressing the same problems – roads, area planning. So what is the difference between Smart Cities and the Master Plan anyway? “Master plan is about zoning and how various parts of city should develop and which parts of city should be reserved for what kind of use,” explains BM Vijay Shankar, Special Commissioner (Projects), Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). “On the other hand, the Smart City mission is about implementation of projects. We have both area-based and pan-city development projects. They are about road works, market development, transit hubs, retrofitting of buildings, command and control centers and lake development.” AR Ravi agrees that there is some convergence of projects and plans, and sometimes they even pose a problem. “With Rs 11,000 crore allocated for development of roads, there would be some overlapping of interests and activities. We are restricted,” he exclaims.

Pan City proposals factor different features that are inclusive, with citizen-centric e-governance and services. The plan is to upgrade the city’s infrastructure and participation. The specific institutions that are involved in development include a Grievance Management center, Municipal Finance Reforms, Participatory Budgeting, neighbourhood safety, Property Tax collections, B-TRIPS (Bengaluru transport-related information and planning system), Public Project Management and Data for citizens.

The major key of the smart city project is the Area Based Development (ABD). About 21.8 sq kms of core areas are getting special attention, with Rs 1,666 crore from the Rs 2,090 crore allocated to the entire Smart City. They involve revitalising the historic heart and economic zones of the city.

The plan is ready to launch, yet there are a number of issues waiting to be worked out. Officials say that while the plan is important, floating tenders and launching the Detailed Project Report (DPR) surely takes time for implementation. With work being in the proposal stage, the targets are identified, yet the goalposts are not fixed. The deadline is “five years”, of which one year is already over. It remains to be seen whether Bengaluru Smart City project will be ‘smart’ in execution as well.

Itemised project capital cost for Area-based Development 
Revitalisation of historic heart of city: Rs 1166.72 cr
Integrated mobility towards creating vibrant destination: Rs 234.12 cr
Shivajinagar bus station and Russel Market precinct: Rs 233.12 cr
Upgradation and redevelopment of historic economic centers: Rs 184.92 cr
KR Market: Rs 53.08 cr
Malleswaram market: Rs 131.83 cr
Innovation of downstream clean-up of drainage system: Rs 37.35 cr
Majestic Bus Stand: Rs 1 cr
Ulsoor Lake: Rs 24.42 cr
Sankey Tank: Rs 12.94 cr
Protection and redevelopment of centrally located parkland: Rs 6.07 cr
Increasing affordable housing stock through slum redevelopment (Swathanthra Palya Slum Redevelopment): Rs 43.93 cr
Retrofitting of a healthcare facility (KC General Hospital); Rs 12.01 cr
Municipal Finance: Rs 1.7 cr
Improvement in property tax collections for the whole city in a phased manner: Rs 5 cr
Grievance Management-Central command centre for accepting citizen queries: Rs 31.11 cr
Participatory Budgeting: Rs 2 cr
Online project information system for public project management: Rs 5 cr
Open data portal for citizen information and innovation: Rs 5 cr
Improvement of Neighbourhood Safety: Rs 32.4 cr
B-TRIPS (Bengaluru Travel Related Information and Planning System): Rs 25 cr

© Oorvani Foundation/Open Media Initiative. Also available online at Citizen Matters.

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What does it really involve for Bangalore? By REVATHI SIVA KUMAR Even as the leaden, monsoon skies are darkening over an overgrown metro, many might be surprised to learn that Bengaluru was added to the ‘Smart City’ list in June 2017. It became the seventh city from Karnataka to get into...