Kozhikode knocked out of smart city race

Kozhikode is officially out of the Smart City Mission with the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs selecting Meghalaya’s capital Shillong for the last slot in the final round of the project last week.

The State government and the Kozhikode Corporation have fought vigorously to get into the challenging round of the Centre’s urban renewal and retrofitting programme to develop 100 cities across the country.

Kozhikode city had a glimmer of hope when Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan personally pursued the issue with the Smart Cities Mission in New Delhi.

Now, Kozhikode has to be go ahead with Centre’s Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme, for which the projects have been progressing at a moderate pace.

“Based on the quota allotted to each State, only Kochi was selected for the Smart City Mission from the Kerala after the city challenge in the first round. Later Thiruvananthapuram was included in the list since it was the capital city,” N. Sajeesh Kumar N., Director, Smart Cities, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, told
The Hindu
on Monday.

He said that the quota for each State had been decided considering its geographical and demographic situation. Smart cities have been distributed among the States and the Union Territories on the formula that gives equal weightage to urban population and number of statutory towns of the State and Union Territory.

Parameters

“About 15 parameters such as liveability, sustainability and economic development have been identified for selecting the smart cities,” Mr. Sajeesh said, adding that the State would have to be contended with Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram for the Smart City Mission.

Kozhikode did not figure in the winning cities list in round four published by the Ministry in January-February.

Incidentally, the city was unable to make it to the first round of the Smart City Challenge in 2015 as the civic body officials reportedly failed to submit the proforma documents for the purpose. At the same time, the Thrissur Corporation had scored a high percentage based on the given parameters for selection.

Even then, Kozhikode Corporation tasked Mrunmai Joshi, outgoing Corporation Secretary, to present the case of the city with the Local-Self Government Department and the Ministry. Thereafter steps had been initiated to secure Rs. 25-30 lakh to appoint a consultant for preparing the Vision Document. However, despite the efforts, nothing fruitful happened as it was too late, officials said.

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