Guwahati as a Smart City
It is indeed heartening to learn that Guwahati has been med among the 20 smart cities of the country under Mission Transform India. Whether or not Mission Transform India (MTI) can undo the damage that has been done to what could have been one of India’s most beautiful cities remains to be seen. After all, a smart city should also be a beautiful city. Given its beautiful riverfront, Guwahati had the potential for this. But over the years, planners seem to have worked overtime to destroy that beauty. Union Minister for Urban Development M Venkaiah idu, who announced the 20 winners of the Smart City Challenge competition on Thursday, said that the selection was totally objective and transparent, based on standardized processes. “Smart City Mission marks a paradigm shift towards urban development in the country, since it is based on a ‘bottom-up’ approach with the involvement of citizens in the formulation of (the) city vision and smart city plans and urban local bodies and State governments piloting the mission with little say for the Ministry of Urban Development,” he said. He also observed that it is for the first time in the world that investments in the urban sector were being made on a competition-based selection of cities. idu said that the 20 winning cities and towns have proposed a total investment of Rs 50,802 crore over five years with all the cities proposing the public-private partnership (PPP) as a major vehicle of resource mobilization. Guwahati will get in phases a sum of Rs 2,600 crore in the next five years for its transformation into a smart city. Initially, it will get Rs 200 crore for the purpose. Some people are beginning to ask whether Guwahati is not already a smart city, since the city administration is smart enough to stop power supply when the water supply is on, and to stop the water supply when the power supply is on. Apart from a major improvement in both, the city will also need an additiol transportation system—perhaps in the form of an overhead railway system.