With 59 special purpose vehicles (SPVs) in place, India's Smart Cities Mission is now ready to take off. With more than 15 tenders coming in every month, winning cities have made sure their envisaged plans are on track, albeit at a slow speed.
The rise and development of Smart Cities is a global phenomenon, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's plans to roll out 109 Smart Cities and upgrade existing cities under the Smart Cities Mission will enable India to emerge as a global leader in this domain. It is estimated that investments of $2 trillion are required over 20 years to build Smart Cities in the country. Presently, 16 public-private partnership Smart City projects worth Rs 1,327.67 crore are being implemented, and 36 PPP projects worth Rs 3,925.71 crore are at various stages of tendering.
INFRASTRUCTURE TODAY, through this story, examines the route that India's Smart Cities Mission is taking the country in terms of execution. As the execution of Smart Cities requires advance planning and management, the road ahead is not so smooth for this programme. As rightly suggested by HE Liu Jinsong, Minister& DCM, Embassy of the People's Republic of China, India must replicate the model of century-old cities that existed, such as Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. He added, 'Planners or authorities must think about building medium and small cities rather than large ones, as city management would be more effective.'
Is execution happening?
With 60 winning proposals worth over Rs 1.31 lakh crore, India's Smart City Mission will positively impact an urban population of more than 72 crore. Winning Smart Cities will be spending Rs 1.05 lakh crore on their area-based development plans and Rs 26,141 crore on pan-city solutions over the next five years.
In terms of project progress, 60 Smart Cities have submitted 731 project proposals worth Rs 43,769 crore, of which Rs 25,902 crore will be spent on core infrastructure and Rs 10,629 crore on other area-based development projects. With regards to pan-city development, 60 winning cities have budgeted Rs 5,468 crore on smart solutions.
In terms of sector-wise preferences, the housing sector with an estimated spending of Rs 10,055 crore tops the chart followed by urban transport (Rs 7,272 crore), area development (Rs 6,890 crore), energy (Rs 4,360 crore), water supply (Rs 3,207 crore), IT connectivity (Rs 2,991 crore) and sewerage (Rs 2,356 crore).
On the spending front, a few cities have deployed massive funds for making their cities 'smart'. Topping the chart is Indore with Rs 4,857 crore, followed by Jabalpur (Rs 4,311 crore), Pune (Rs 2,907 crore), Surat (2,597 crore) and Ahmedabad (Rs 1,976 crore). Although these spends look fascinating on paper, on-ground activities depict a different picture.
Of the 731 projects, cities with SPVs in place have initiated only 384 projects. What's more, till now, feasibility reports for only 108 projects are in progress, of which 31 projects have completed feasibility reports. Interestingly, 22 detailed project reports have been completed, coupled with cities issuing 87 requests for qualification and signing 26 project contracts.
Considering the Smart City Mission will complete two years this June, the overall progress by the first 20 Smart Cities has not been encouraging for others in the fray.
Of the 642 projects, implementation on only 49 projects has started, and only 24 projects have witnessed completion status.
Aamer Azeemi, Independent Director, Bhubaneswar Smart City Ltd, compared the planning in greenfield and brownfield projects, citing examples of Smart Cities which will be set up along the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and the current retrofitting projects undertaken by winning Smart Cities. According to him, Smart Cities in DMIC have edge over other projects due to the extent of planning and management that is required in these ventures.
Jagdish Salgaonkar, Senior Vice President, AECOM, cited Dholera Smart City as an example. He said, 'We have prepared a land use master plan, utilities' master plan, digital master plan and resilience master plan which can take care of the city for next the next 50 years.'
Meanwhile, Raveendra Bhat, Director, Treatment & Dewatering, Xylem, raised a few valid points that city administrations can consider. According to him, city planners must be prepared to provide clean drinking water, have a mandatory provision for packaged sewage treatment plants for housing societies, and prevent flood-like situations.
Speaking on early warning systems, Bhat suggested that city planners must deploy advanced sensor-based technologies to receive early sign warnings on water flow, level and flood speed. Along with this, to prevent the 'after-flood' effect, the city corporation must be equipped with high-capacity mobile pumping stations. Bhat said, 'Availability of substantial amount of pumping systems in a city is the need of the hour to avoid further damage to cities.'
Ostensibly, apart from flood prevention, digital planning and land planning, there is a necessity to check what kind of materials have been used in city projects that includes mass housing and roads.
Dr Manamohan Kalgal, President, Indian Concrete Institute & Technical Advisor, UltraTech was of the opinion that planners must use building materials which are sustainable and have longer durability.
Kalgal mention that with the use of monolithic technology, city planners can build a four-storey project in just two months. Whereas, just applying white topping in building road construction can improve the life of a road project for 25 years.
Moving away from archaic ways of urban governance, cities are now vying for credit ratings for mobilisation of resources through municipal bonds, reflecting on their keenness to think and act differently. Eight cities - Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Indore, Jaipur, Kakinada, Pune, Rajkot and Visakhapatnam - have already appointed Transactional Advisors for issuing municipal bonds.
To begin with, in the current financial year, municipal corporations such as Pune, Vishakhapatnam and Ahmedabad will raise Rs 3,200 crore to fund their Smart City projects. All three municipal corporations have confirmed this development to INFRASTRUCTURE TODAY.
Kunal Kumar, Commissioner, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) says that the corporation will raise Rs 2,200 crore worth of municipal bonds which will hit the market in the month of March. For this, PMC has received a long-term credit rating of 'AA+' and plans to utilise the funds for the 24x7 clean potable water supply project for the city. This will be the country's largest municipal bond issue till date, and it will be issued in four tranches depending on the municipal corporation's requirement. For this, PMC has appointed SBI Caps as the merchant banker.
Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) will raise Rs 200 crore municipal worth of bonds to fund its Smart City project. Ramya Bhatt, Assistant Municipal Commissioner, says that the funds would be utilised for water supply, sewage treatment, wastewater and city upgradation projects that fall under the Smart City plans submitted to the government. AMC has received a long-term credit rating of AA-.
Similarly, Visakhapatnam will raise Rs 200 crore and according to M Hari Narayanan, Commissioner, Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation, the civic body is yet to identify the projects.
The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) is keen that besides Pune and Ahmedabad, other rated municipal corporations should also prepare for bond offerings and tap the bond market to sustain development. Of the 97 Smart Cities, 89 have initiated the credit-rating process of which 70 have completed it, and 26 have already been given credit ratings. A total of 44 cities including 25 Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) cities have so far got credit ratings.
Indian cities face threats from rising crime rates to civil unrest, terrorist attacks to natural calamities. This can be evident from the recent statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau, which reveals that states like Delhi (916.8) and Kerala (723.2) score high in total cognizable crimes, where high density of urban population correlates to high-crime rates.
In situations like these, it becomes extremely pertinent to devise a strategy and solution to keep a vigilant eye and keep the threats at bay to lay the foundation of a thriving metropolis. In the modern world, most cities are equipped with standard security surveillance technologies, but they also have their limitations.
Here, Madhya Pradesh, with a population of more than 70 million and geographic area of 3 lakh sq km, has implemented latest surveillance technology solutions to monitor its citizens through strategically-placed sensors around the urban landscape, collecting data regarding many different factors of urban living, and transmitting, aggregating and analysing the collected data to address challenges of crime prevention, traffic management, etc.
Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Police Telecom (Radio), which is responsible for satisfactory and quick communication to maintain law and order of the state during VVIP visits, elections, key events, natural disasters, etc., and to take action against offenders, has partnered with Honeywell Building Solutions to implement a massive city-wide surveillance system.
Another example to cite is the Traffic Integrated Management System in Hyderabad. The Traffic Police in Hyderabad has developed Hyderabad Traffic Integrated Management System (HTIMS). These are smart signalling systems with surveillance cameras. The interesting fact is that when the roads are empty on one side and there are no immovable vehicles, the system automatically allows vehicles on the other side to move quicker. This innovative system has allowed Hyderabad to reduce the waiting time for commuters at the signals. HTIMS also helps in saving fuel.
Meanwhile, the Hyderabad Police conducted an intensive survey and collected data from various available sources. According to the results, HTIMS has reduced the travel time from 10 per cent to 20 per cent on some stretches. The system has also allowed the Hyderabad Police to optimise signaling time in a few places.
Talking about safety and security, nowadays even temples are not spared from the hit-list of terrorists. Being a potential target for terrorist attacks, Varanasi-based Sri Kashi Vishwanath Mandir, which is always flooded with devotees, has installed CCTV surveillance cameras for crowd management, checking pilferage, and to prevent nuisance and damage done by visiting crowds. The temple used Hikvision Analog HD DVR, with WD Purple drives 2TB, and utilised existing video wires where new wiring was not possible. These were established at multiple points. In addition, Analog PTZ cameras were replaced by IP speed domes.
Speaking exclusively to INFRASTRUCTURE TODAY, Hansraj Ahir, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Government of India, divulged about the Centre's flagship Safe City and Smart Police projects. He said, 'We have proposed Rs 226 crore to make seven big cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and Hyderabad - focus on technological advancements.'
Energy saved is energy generated. Following this principle, most municipal corporations in India are striving hard to save maximum energy with minimum investments. The Pune Municipal Corporation, under the Smart City initiative, plans to replace as many as 80,000 streetlights with LED bulbs.
Why are these LEDs smart? Apart from saving energy, the LEDs can be programmed based on traffic and public movement patterns. If there is little movement (traffic or public), the lights will dim, and if there is no movement, the light gets dim to as low as 20 per cent of its total luminance. This further helps save more energy. The salient features of this project are energy savings, sensor-based lighting systems, and centralised control, to name a few. With this, PMC is expecting to save energy to the tune of 55 per cent, which will further amount to savings of approximately Rs 1.4 crore per annum.
Says Harshavardhan Chitale, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Philips Lighting India Ltd, 'PMC will not be paying directly to us, but will be using an energy services company (ESCO) model wherein we will get paid in the form of savings from reduced electricity expenses after installing the LEDs.'
Apart from Pune, many cities are striving hard for energy saving initiatives, one of them is Indore. The city is implementing 'Intelligent Street' poles under Public-Private Partnership with a DBOOT model. The objective is to increase the capability of municipal governance, improve the quality of civic service delivery and the overall quality of life of Indore's citizens. For this, Indore Smart City Development Ltd (ISCDL) has invited requests for proposals to install as many as 75,000 smart poles. The primary function of the smart poles will be to provide street lighting, mobile broadband infrastructure, Wi-Fi hotspot services, active geo-location transponders for location-based services and surveillance cameras. These facilities will be connected to the Central Command and Control Centre (C4) where they will be constantly monitored and managed.
In a quest to become energy efficient and save the exchequer's money, the Jaipur Municipal Corporation has started monitoring streetlights. The streetlight monitoring system is based on Internet of Things (IoT) and is developed by Precimetrix, for Samudra LED - a manufacturer of efficient and environment-friendly smart LED solutions. At the core of this solution is Microsoft's Azure cloud. The dedicated Web solution by Microsoft's Azure is helping and managing the city's 100,000 smart LEDs. Each and every LED streetlight in the city can be controlled via the dedicated website.
The system has helped the city significantly reduce the time it takes to respond when a streetlight burns out, helping the Municipal Corporation save on manpower cost. The system has also helped improving the accuracy of energy consumption data significantly - as all the data is streamed into the Azure cloud, which can be analysed for any discrepancies in real-time.
E-governance is the future. It can make governance more efficient and more effective, and bring other benefits too. Slowly but steadily, some of the Indian states are moving from no-governance to e-governance. States like Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, New Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Rajasthan are leading the pack.
Madhya Pradesh has set up a state data-centre to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the interaction between local government and its citizens. After implementing the solution, the MP government managed to get an end-to-end security blanket to protect applications, services, data and the infrastructure from malicious attacks or theft by external as well as internal hackers. The government's State Data Centres (SDC) managed to get free rack space, which was a cost-effective solution, resulting in saving of revenue for various e-procurement projects.
Through this, cost saving of approximately Rs 10 crore per annum accrued to the state government and additional savings of Rs 1.5 crore were obtained due to early operation of SDC.
Telangana, in its stride to become digitally ahead of its peers, has introduced what it calls the 'MeeSeva platform' with an objective to serve citizens. The initiative involves universal and no-discriminatory delivery of all the government services to citizens and stakeholders of all sectors. The initiative features a transformed government-citizen interface at all level of administration along with a shared governance model.
The services of MeeSeva and eSeva are offered through 110 government-owned services and 4,500 franchises. On a daily basis, MeeSeva serves around 50,000 to 70,000 citizens on eSeva platform and around 60,000 to 90,000 via MeeSeva platform.
Presently, the platform handles Rs 400 crore of revenue every month. Considering its vast range, it is the only platform in India that serves more than one lakh citizens per day, along with number of services offered from one single platform and the money routed through the platform. One of the biggest achievements so far is its electronic service delivery platform (ESD), wherein the platform plays a crucial role in the government's decision making to ensure transparency between citizens and bureaucracy.
In case of New Delhi, the state has launched a real-time smartphone application-NDMC 311'ùa real-time smartphone application. In March 2016, the municipal body has resolved about 95 per cent complaints registered through this application. So far, NDMC has successfully resolved 6,108 complaints, with 2,005 of them being closed by the complainants themselves. This application also tracks the location of its on-field officers, thereby increasing NDMC's staff accountability towards complaints.
The system uses smartphone and cloud-based tracking technologies that send tamper-proof pictures, corresponding locations and capture times to the operations command centre via the Internet in real time. It is a multi-utility system wherein a resident can pay taxes and bills (electricity and water), apply birth and death certificates and vaccination online, emergency search of other utility numbers and facilities, schedule appointments, get notifications and report civic issues. It also gives real-time information on traffic and parking space availability in NDMC areas. The applicationùin case of emergency- can also help book an appointment with a doctor.
There is an anecdote associated with the word planning and execution. At the inaugural function of Terminal-3 at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, erstwhile Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel had said (he was at the function with ex-PM Manmohan Singh, 'This would be the first project in India where we laid the foundation stone together and still around to inaugurate it.'
That actually suggests the ground reality of India's way of executing and planning projects.
Plan it like Dholera!
As far as greenfield development is concerned, Dholera edges out many of its peers. For this $641-million-project, AECOM has utilised multiple Bentley applications as it progresses through the planning, design, and construction phases. AECOM has deployed ProjectWise as the connected data environment to manage the engineering design data for all project participants. ProjectWise ensures that the information is accessible and, through defined workflows and rules, managed through the various phases to enable AECOM to meet project deadlines. ProjectWise acts as the hub for multi-discipline design deliverables, while adhering to the appropriate standards and regulations.
The use of Bentley applications will enable Dholera to meet green development standards, such as the LEED gold trademark of excellence. Using 3D digital engineering models to ensure maximum value across the lifecycle of the project is at the forefront of AECOM's long-term vision. For example, Navigator helps the project team detect and resolve clashes and creates mobility in the workforce. Bentley Map ensures the accuracy of geospatial information prevalent in their engineering workflows, and the Bentley's Haestad applications delivered hydraulic modeling for the distribution network. AECOM used OpenRoads for designing and managing road infrastructure, ensuring that roads, cycle paths and multi-purpose corridors were proposed efficiently.
Hyderabad's maintenance-free roads
The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) is probably the first corporation in India to use white topping technology for road construction. Topping is a new technology of providing cement concrete overlay on the existing damaged and distressed bitumen roads with a purpose either to restore or to increase the load carrying capacity, or both. The newly-inducted technology by GHMC also works on the existing pavement and prevents frequent damage of roads.
GHMC has adopted this technology for two pilot projects - Road No 10 in Banjara Hills and PG Road in Secunderabad. After successful implementation of laying these roads stretches, the Government of Telangana and GHMC have formulated a proposal to carry this work over bitumen roads in several stretches in the premises. Accordingly, as many as 64 road stretches have been identified for the deployment of white topping overlay over bitumen roads in a phased manner.
According to a GHMC official, white topping roads have a design life of 15-20 years. Roads designed with white topping do not require maintenance for 15 years. Meanwhile, white topping roads along with provisions of footpaths, shoulders, storm water drain with proper chamber correction and all other utilities duct are sustainable. These have long life, low-maintenance, low life cycle cost, with improved safety and environment benefits.
What other cities can learn from Vapi
The increase in urban migration in India demands smarter way of governance. The city of Vapi in Gujarat is gearing up for its future, employing solutions to connect people and increase transparency and efficiency of the urban infrastructure. The Vapi Nagar Palika, in cooperation with Council's partner Responscity, has deployed Digital House Identification (DHI), which has integrated various government services into one holistic ecosystem. This requires usage of advanced technology and the power of IoT (Internet of Things) to streamline the current redundant logistics in place for address recognition, citizen engagement, complaint management and waste management with the Vapi Nagar Palika.
How DHI works
The DHI platform deploys DHI tags installed at house or office or building properties that can later be used conveniently to recognise and update the Responscity cloud-based servers depending upon the application. The installation scope includes physical identification of each property, capturing its GPS co-ordinates and installing laser-inscribed NFC or RFID tags. Responscity's software can later draw or push required data to field officers on the field, making it more sophisticated, accountable and practical system for the government to use in everyday tasks.
- RAHUL KAMAT