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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government may have just announced the development of 100 new smart cities in its first budget last month, but the Gujarat government has already started preparing a new policy framework and roadmap for developing existing cities into smart cities.

It has planned a major brainstorming seminar in October when national and international experts will participate.

The Gujarat government is also planning to develop five new cities in anticipation of a major new scheme for the development new smart cities.

Additional chief secretary (ACS), urban development & urban Housing, G R Aloria, said: “We are already moving in the direction to convert our cities into smart cities by providing best smart and digital services to the citizens. E-nagar services which were launched recently are the first step in that direction.”

He said that the government is working on a policy framework for developing major cities and even municipalities into smart cities from where people will be able to get most of the civic and other services from their home by digital and mobile media. “We will conduct a major seminar in October in which brainstorming with national and international experts will be done on developing smart cities in Gujarat. After that, we aim to develop a policy and roadmap for developing smart cities,” he said.

He said they were awaiting the exact details on the proposed scheme plan by the Government of India. “Once it gets cleared, we will submit our draft proposal,” he said.

There is confusion whether the new scheme will be for redevelopment of present satellite towns or development of new greenfiled towns like Gandhinagar. Sanand, Kalol near Ahmedabad, the other side of river in Gandhinagar, few adjoining areas near Surat, Rajkot and Vadodara are also under consideration, he said.

“Land identification and other issues are ongoing. We are also preparing new city development plans for Surat, Rajkot and Vadodara along with Ahmedabad. Availability of transport, water supply and road connectivity are major issues that will be considered first,” he added.

Union finance minister Arun Jaitely in his budget speech had said: “The Prime Minister has a vision of developing ’100 Smart Cities’, as satellite towns of larger cities and by modernizing the existing mid-sized cities. To provide the necessary focus to this critical activity, I have provided a sum of Rs 7,060 crore in the current fiscal.”

Under the DMIC (Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor), Japan and Gujarat government are also planning eco-smart cities in Sanand, Changodar and Dahej.

Source: The Times of India, Ahmedabad