In absence of a precise definition of a smart city, Sidney Frank, the Consul General of Canada, was recently compelled to ask, “What would constitute a Smart City?” He has also said that the process of developing infrastructure should not be hindered just because there is not enough clarity regarding what one means by a smart city or rather what qualifies to be one. At present, Frank is leading a delegation of Canadian companies in Hyderabad. These organisations, as one understands, are eager to take part in the Smart Cities project. Frank operates from the Canadian Consulate office located at Bengaluru. He has stated that there are many ways in which the cities can be developed infrastructure-wise.
More Clarity Needed for Smart Cities Project: Canadian Consul General
The Canadian dignitary has pointed out areas that have enough scope for improvement. Electrical grids and waste management (both liquid and solid waste) are some of the areas that he mentioned. He is of the opinion that there are domains for which one need not wait for a clear definition to work on. According to Frank, Canadian companies have the necessary expertise when it comes to developing such advanced spaces and they are also willing to share the knowledge with their Indian counterparts.
Frank has pointed out that in Canada the smart cities were developed in an organic way and some of them are still praised as highly livable. These cities just became better with the passage of time and he feels that India needed to do something similar. He has further stated that the plans of the Andhra Pradesh Government to develop a new capital city has significant potential. One can also assume in this scenario that this has got the Canadian companies excited. The Canadian Consulate is also looking to improve the links between Indian and Canadian companies and include the government functionaries in the fold as well.
The companies in question are experts in various sectors, some of which may be mentioned as below:
- Information and communication technology
- Connectivity establishment
- Energy grids
- Public-private partnerships
Indian Government Yet to Say Yes to Smart Cities Project in Karnataka
The Karnataka Government is yet to receive the consent of the Indian Government for developing a smart cities project, which had been announced by the central government during the presentation of Union Budget 2014-15. The Karnataka government had identified Tumakuru, Ramanagaram and Devanahalli – all cities with more than 50 lakh people – as possible locations for the project. Karnataka administration had also figured out 41 cities with population of around one lakh for developing them as smart cities. Some of those cities may be mentioned as below:
Meanwhile, the Indian government has decided that Mangaluru will be developed as a Smart Port City. Vinay Kumar Sorake, the Minister for Urban Development, Karnataka, has said that the state government had also suggested that Vijayapura, Hosapete, and Udupi be developed as Heritage Cities but the central government opted for Badami. It also allocated INR 20 crore for the same. According to the minister, the aforementioned cities will be developed in the best way possible and both India and Karnataka will share the expenses.
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