Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru
Mangaluru, Sep 30: When Mangaluru made it to the shortlist of top 98 smart cities under the proposed flagship programme of smart cities mission of the NDA government there was euphoria all around. The common perception was that Mangaluru had already made it to the list smart cities while the reality is completely different. In fact Mangaluru has only made it to the elite group of 98 cities which is the first step towards qualifying to become a Smart City.
Now it is a do or die situation for Mangaluru to make it to the list of top 20 cities from all over India to be identified for the first phase of the Smart City mission. This is quite a challenging and cumbersome task as the city has to fulfil certain guidelines laid down by the union government and that too within a specified time. As there is very little time to carry out the various tasks of preparing explicit documents of Smart City proposals to make it to the list 20 coveted list of ‘smart cities’, the challenge is all the more demanding.
Having realised the gravity of situation and the urgency with which the work needs to be done to meet the various deadlines with very little time on hand a Smart City Mangaluru – Team MCC has been set up which is working overtime to channelize diverse thought process in one direction. A separate team comprising city governing council, city mentors, patrons, advisors, consultants and various stakeholders has been set up which is working round the clock to create necessary Smart City proposals within the time given. CREDAI Mangaluru chapter would act as the umbrella body for channelizing all thought process of various organisations and committees which will be handed over to the city corporation as a single document.
Opportunity for Mangaluru
Six cities in Karnataka have made it to the list of 98 including Mangaluru namely Belagavi, Shivamogga, Hubballi-Dharwad, Tumakuru and Davanagere. The selection of the 98 cities was done through a very transparent process of intra-city competition evaluated on the basis various parameters such as service levels institutional and financial capacity, past track record, available infrastructure and reforms. In other words the selected cities should possess the capacity to achieve the objective of Smart City mission. With Mysuru and Bengaluru failing to qualify for the first stage Mangaluru stands a chance if it is able to pull its act together and come out proposals, plans, vision documents and other requirements within the stipulated time frame. But then Mangaluru will have to compete with other Tier I cities and state capitals which will be quite a challenging task. The entire selection process will be transparent handled by a professional team where no other parameters except merit will be considered.
While metro cities state capitals enjoy the distinct advantage due to the prevalent infrastructure and more economic activity, Mangaluru which is only a Tier II city requires tremendous efforts to fast track the trajectory of economic activities in the form of documents to make it to the list of top 20. However, it cannot be denied that Mangaluru enjoys the distinct advantage of being the ‘intellectual capital’ with rich social and cultural background and given an opportunity has all the potential to metamorphose into a global city . Being a small city, which can be easily manageable in terms of population and size, Mangaluru has everything to qualify to be a Smart City.
What Smart City entails
Once the Smart City proposal (SC) is submitted for Smart City challenge the city selected will get a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to implement the Smart City proposal. This SPV will be promoted by state and Urban Local Bodies with 50:50 equity shareholdings. If selected a Smart City would get Rs 100 crores per year from the central government for over a period of five years and an equal amount from the state government towards equity share in SPV and for five years the total investment will be to the tune of Rs 1000 crores. But smart cities don’t have to depend only on the funding of the government. Additional funds or investment will have to be provided by ULB through increased user fee, beneficiary fees, land monetisation and also by attracting private sector investment as a result of increased economic activity.
Mangaluru should pitch in for a Smart City because a Smart City will be a fertile ground for all economic activity, which in turn would give a big push for the comprehensive development of the city. In a Smart City the spotlight would be on economy, mobility, governance, citizen participation, concern for environment and living. In addition to this, a smart will be credibly safe, clean and green, economically strong and culturally vibrant that would make way for social, cultural and economic sustainability. A Smart City will definitely means better infrastructure and amenities and will be an ideal place to live work and visit.
Smart City Proposal
The most important challenge for all those involved in the onerous task of ensuring Mangaluru’s inclusion in the list of 20 cities is preparing the Smart City Proposal (SCP) for fulfilling the Smart City challenge. The deadline for submitting draft and SCP is November 27, 2015. SCP has to include city profile, citizen participation, vision and sub goals, strategic plan, PAN city proposal, area based proposal, implementation frame work, financial plan, benefits and impacts and process and team work. This entails tremendous efforts because SCP also has to include the 24 features that encompass a Smart City. All the relevant documents required have to be submitted online and the process if completely transparent and therefore there is no room for manipulation or pressure tactics to work in favour of any city.
While the arduous task of preparing city profile and other proposals has been shouldered by various teams who are already at work ensuring citizen participation is quite a challenge for all those involved in these efforts to ensure public participation, which is quite crucial and essential in the entire scheme of things, the think-tank, various committees and multi-media professionals are working continuously to come out with creative and catchy hoardings, posters, banners, pamphlets, paper insertions and electronic media campaigns and social media promos. About 100 hoardings are planned to be mounted at various strategic places out of which 30 hoardings are already erected.
Vision Statement invited
Drafting a vision statement is crucial for preparing SCP because it forms the basis on which the entire plan document of supporting the Smart City vision and viability has to be shaped. To ensure public participation a Smart City vision statement competition has been organized wherein the public are invited to send their vision statement and can walk away with a cash prize of Rs 1 lac for the best selected vision statement. The vision statement should be of 50 words along with a description of about 250 words explaining the vision statement relating specifically to the city’s profile. A statement of about 250 words should also accompany the vision statement giving details of the economic, social, environmental and spatial components of the city. A descriptive note of about 250 words should also be part of the vision statement summarizing the impact of key aspects like main economic activity, sustainability and inclusiveness.
If no vision statement gets selected for the top cash prize, top 3 chosen vision statements will win a cash price of Rs 25,000 each. Subsequently, based on the vision statement, a logo with a tagline will be created to symbolize the true character of Mangaluru and the various hues of its cultural diversity.
The last date to submit the vision statements is October 5, 2015. Citizens can drop their vision statement with contact details at the various drop boxes kept at Corporation office Lalbagh, Kadri and Surathkal and at Bharat Mall, City Mall and Forum Fiza Mall. Vision statements can also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet@smartcitymangaluru. They can also log on to www.mygov.in and interact and give suggestions. They can also log on to facebook.com/smartcitymangaluru for more details.
Having already made it to the list of 98, Mangaluru now has to rise to the challenging task of making it to the list of 20 cities to be chosen in the first phase of the of the Smart City mission flagship programme. While MCC and other teams have woken up to take up the challenge it is now the responsibility of the citizens of this city to rise to the occasion and extend their wholehearted cooperation and participation and contribute in their own way to ensure Mangaluru gets included in the coveted list of 20 smart cities in the first phase itself.