The state government on Wednesday selected Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur and Biharsharif to be developed as smart cities. Interestingly, Patna did not find a place due to poor marks in the prescribed criteria laid down by the Centre. The selection was done through ‘City Challenge Competition’.
This was decided by the seven-member state committee under the chairmanship of state chief secretary Anjani K Singh here on Wednesday. The member secretary of the committee is the principal secretary, urban development and housing department.
“We have already sent a detailed report on the three cities to the Centre for developing them as smart cities in a period of five years. The three cities fulfilled the criteria,” said urban development and housing department principal secretary Amrit Lal Meena. All the states have to send their list of selected cities by July-end.
“We have 28 cities with over one lakh population. Seventeen of them applied for smart city status. They were evaluated by the respective urban local bodies on 15-point criteria set by the Centre,” Meena told TOI.
‘Smart City’ is an initiative by PM Narendra Modi to take the pressure off Indian metros. One hundred smart cities would be developed in a phased manner in five years. An amount of Rs 200 crore would be spent on each city per year with the state government to share half the expenditure, he said.
About Patna, Meena said the state government would separately make a detailed plan to develop the state capital from its own funds. Initially, Bihar government had sent a proposal to the Centre to develop Patna, Gaya, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga as smart cities.
It is an ambitious target to develop selected 100 cities given the abysmal state of infrastructure and non-existent city governance structures in most of them.