Recently, Gwalior was felicitated for being among the AMRUT cities for its many initiatives at our recently held Smart Urbanation Summit in Hyderabad, organised by Smart Cities Council India.
Also, Mahip Tejasvi, CEO, Gwalior Smart City Development Corporation, was awarded for being among the most popular SPV CEOs in the same event. Selected in the second round of the smart cities challenge, the ABD proposal spans a total 803 acre and the pan-city proposal is divided into 13 projects packaged into three modules: Intelligent Operations and Control Unit, Urban Transit Module, and Waste Management Module. Tejasvi shares more with SHRIYAL SETHUMADHAVAN and RAHUL KAMAT...
Tell us about the progress on the Gwalior smart city programme.
We have a number of projects in the pipeline. We are trying to start with smart buses, which will run inter and intra-city. In addition, we are implementing public bike sharing and smart road projects. Most projects that are already popular in the Smart Cities mission will be implemented in Gwalior. That apart, we are planning some innovative projects such as a central library, kiosks in various colleges and universities, and so on.
If you could quantify the projects in terms of their worth, how much of the funds have been received so far?
We are undertaking 71 projects in 11 modules with a total funding of Rs 22 billion. As of now, we have received Rs 4 billion from the government as a grant. That apart, we are just not depending on government funds, state or central. We are also considering conversion projects under various government schemes and exploring fund-raising options. Till now, we have tendered around 18 projects worth Rs 600 million, of which seven to eight projects have already drawn bids.
In terms of funding, what other instruments and new ideas can you bring in to make the smart city mission a success?
First of all, it is a myth that smart cities are facing fund issues. All the listed smart cities have got sufficient funds from the government in the form of grants. Although we are not facing any funding issue at present, I am sure that after a certain period of time, when the tenders are floated and work starts, there are chances of projects facing a financial crunch. Hence, not only Gwalior, but other smart cities too must explore other sources of fund generation. If such a situation arises, then we have funds from the convergence schemes. Through convergence-led funds or projects, this mission will bring together all departments that were earlier working in silos.
Interestingly, all these departments had been equipped with funds for running particular schemes, which are now subsumed in the Smart Cities mission.
Another way to generate funds is identify such locations in the city that are dead in terms of their commercial value. On such locations, the SPV can propose a mix land use concept, wherein we can plan value addition projects for citizens and generate substantial funds through this initiative.
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