Smart Cities Project: Beginning and Potential

Smart cities to boost Indian economy

Smart cities to boost Indian economyThe Smart Cities project, one of the dream projects of Narendra Modi, is likely to start from April 2015. The project had been announced some time back and all this while there had been a huge amount of discussion with the various entities who are supposed to execute the same. M Venkaiah Naidu has informed the media that all permissions needed to get the ambitious project off-ground will be received by the end of March 2015. The Urban Development Minister of India feels that it is one of the most exciting topics of discussion right now. He has further stated that through this project the need for increasing urbanization will be dealt with and it will be used as a spur for the country’s eventual progress.

Smart Cities Project to Start from April 2015

It was in 2014 that the NDA government announced the construction of Smart Cities, which are supposed to feature better technology, modern ways of administration, and improvements in management. Naidu has, however, made it absolutely clear that the cities would be chosen on the basis of criteria already fixed by the national government. Political considerations, or anything else for that matter, will amount to nothing in this case.
He has further stated that a three-pronged approach has been adopted in order to substantially differentiate the Smart Cities from the normal ones. He has stated that as part of the plan, urban areas that are unsustainable will be redeveloped and retrofitted. The Urban Development Minister of India has also said that new cities will be developed as well. The Smart Cities are supposed to be developed in such a way so that they can develop on the basis of their principal economic activity. They will become engines of the national economy. He also mentioned a few categories that these cities will be classed into such as port cities, healthcare cities, tourism cities and educational cities.

AECOM Head Feels Smart Cities Have High Potential

Michael S Burke, the Chief Executive and Chairman of AECOM, one of the top engineering, infrastructure, and design consultancy firms of the world, feels that the Smart Cities programme has a substantial amount of potential. AECOM earned revenues amounting to 20 billion dollars in 2014 from its businesses around the world and is now looking to cement its position in the Indian market. In the next five years the company will be looking to take its headcount in India up to 4000 from 2500. The company is presently working in around 150 countries. It is looking to be a part of the Smart Cities, Clean Ganga and Make in India projects in order to increase its footprint in the Indian infrastructure industry.
AECOM has already done similar work around the world as well, something which adds substance to their observations regarding the potential of the Smart Cities project. It is already developing the Smart City at Dholera, Gujarat. It has also performed the feasibility study as well as design for a Smart City that is supposed to be built at Gurgaon. It is also building a naval base named Seabird at Karwar. It is expected that with the construction of the said naval base India would have its first environment-friendly port city.

AECOM has been able to increase its presence rapidly in the last few years. At present it earns around 100 million dollars from its businesses in India. In the last five years, AECOM has taken part in many high-level infrastructure projects, whose combined construction costs have exceeded 22.5 billion dollars. They have designed and built 40 buildings that are LEED certified and built almost 5000 km in highways. 10 seaports as well as metro services covering 250 km have been built by them.

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