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The Naya Raipur Development Authority (NRDA) has earmarked 32,900.5 square metres of plot to be allotted for setting up a 250-bedded multi-super speciality hospital in Sector 24 of the new Capital city, officials informed. Large regional centers like Naya Raipur and Bhilai are also part of the Smart City initiatives of Chhattisgarh Government which will have a symbiotic relationship for smart urban development and adoption while converting the region into a larger ‘Smart Urban Agglomerate’, explained the Smart City proposal of the State during ‘State-II of India’s Smart City Challenge last year. It further mentioned : “Raipur has a Notified Development Plan 2021. The city is witnessing growth beyond its municipal boundary towards Naya Raipur and Bhilai.”

Notably, now Chhattisgarh’s hi-tech State capital Naya Raipur is gearing up for the third round of ‘Smart City Challenge’ contest of the Union Ministry of Urban Development. The Naya Raipur Development Authority (NRDA) had been collecting feedback from citizens on how they dream of seeing Chhattisgarh’s new State capital as a “Smart City”. Notably, Naya Raipur being first planned city of 21st century already has state-of-the-art infrastructure at its disposal. The city has well planned economic and social infrastructure, officials informed. The Village Development Plan is also taking care of social equity and cohesion. The rich culture and heritage all adds to the strength of the city, they informed.

It may be recalled that a ‘Master System Integrator’ will manage the extraordinarily high-technology oriented ‘Naya Raipur Smart City System’. The Naya Raipur Smart City System will comprise Smart Governance, City Surveillance, Intelligent Transport management System, Electricity and Water supply and City Command and Control Centre among others, officials informed. Notably, the Naya Raipur as a Smart City will leverage the collective intelligence created by connecting physical, institutional, social and economic infrastructure to deliver a quantum improvement in the quality of life of local population, they informed.

Notably, the new capital city of Chhattisgarh is a ‘green field’ city and is planned to develop its infrastructure gradually in order to provide world class amenities and facilities to its residents and visitors. NRDA has taken the next step in “Smart City’ development with plans now for ‘Information & Communication Technology” (ICT) enablement of infrastructure and citizen services, officials informed Naya Raipur is already among five other cities in the country chosen as ‘Demonstration Cities’ for the Centre’s ambitious Sustainable Urban Transport Project (SUTP).

The final five cities participating as ‘Demonstration Cities’ under Sustainable Urban Transport Project (SUTP) are – Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Mysore (Karnataka), Naya Raipur (Chhattisgarh), Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad (Maharashtra). Detailed project profiles were prepared by all cities with the assistance of the SUTP Consultants and then endorsed by the SUTP Steering Committee to be included to SUTP as ‘City Demonstration Projects’, officials stated. It plans of developing a project comprising IT-enabled systems to manage a host of utilities using state-of-art technology. The design would comprise IT enabled land management system, city surveillance besides a host of other systems till now popular and being used only in the developed countries.

The other city management systems include intelligent lighting systems, pay and use parking systems, city guide map available through web browser, intelligent transport system, city level wi-fi touch screens across the city, display boards across the city for providing real-time information, emergency alert and crisis response systems, traffic re-routing applications based on real time traffic data. The city would also have an Central Control Center for monitoring all the services including central traffic control and management system. It may be recalled that Naya Raipur has emerged in the country with the largest land bank of a mammoth 237 square kilometres ( 23,700 hectares).

The NRDA has plans of developing a ‘Transport Hub’ spread over an area of 161.9 hectares in the new capital city. The hub would include setting up Light Rail Transport System (LRTS) stations. The area being earmarked for the ‘Transport Hub’ would be 12.55 per cent of the total area of the new capital city, officials stated. Five residential sectors having more than 8000 dwelling units had already been completed in Chhattisgarh’s new high tech capital Naya Raipur last year, officials informed. The habitation in the residential sectors has also commenced, they informed. It may be recalled that the Naya Raipur Development Authority (NRDA) will also develop a ‘Land Management System’ for managing disposal of land for infrastructure development, officials informed.

Union Minister of Urban Development and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation M Venkaiah Naidu had clearly stated in 2015 that all cities and towns seeking to participate in these schemes will be profiled based on specific parameters that have a bearing on their ability to address issues of governance reforms, resource mobilization, execution etc. The Minister further said that while addressing the issue of geographical spread, only the deserving will be assisted. It may be recalled that on January 16, 2015, Naidu while addressing Consultative Workshop on Urban Governance’ organized for Municipal Commissioners of 130 cities and towns from nine northern states of Delhi, Haryana, Chandigarh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan in New Delhi had informed that his Ministry is currently working on a ‘City Challenge’ framework with the objective of selecting right city candidates for participation in schemes like building 100 smart cities and development of 500 cities and towns.

He revealed : ‘It will not be business as usual in the matter of financing of cities and towns under new urban initiatives and instead, it will be based on the ability of urban local bodies to reform urban governance and rise to the new challenges.’ Naidu referred to the present appalling state of affairs in urban areas which is marked by weak urban governance structures, uninspiring leadership at the level of both selected and elected urban managers, poor inventory management and resource base, weak urban planning and execution, urban mobility being a nightmarish experience, housing shortage, inadequate water and power supply and despicable management of solid waste and treatment of sewerage etc.

In terms of service parameters, Naidu noted that only 73 litres of water per capita per day is being supplied as against the norm of 135 litres, only 50 per cent of households having water connection, 40 per cent households with toilet facilities, treatment of only 16 per cent of sewerage, collection and disposal of only 23 per cent of solid waste and recycling only 10 per cent of city waste. Referring to the investment needs for urban initiatives, the Minister had stated that about Rs40 lakh crore is required for provision of basic infrastructure besides another Rs20 lakh crore for Operation & Maintenance of urban utilities over the next 20 years, another Rs15 lakh crore for meeting housing shortage besides Rs 60,009 cr for sanitation. The total investment needs comes to about US $ 1200 billion, most of which has to come from private sources.

Stating that private investment flows would be dependent on the confidence of investors in urban local bodies including their governance capacities, credit worthiness and city management. Naya Raipur is not just fast emerging as the hi-tech State capital of Chhattisgarh but also an adventure sports destination. The four kms cycling track, Kayaking, Burma bridge and a 2 kms skating track are some of the facilities already functional in the new capital city, officials informed. Boating facility had been made available to visitors at the Jungle Safari from January 1 this year in the new capital. The Jungle Safari comprises of four separate Safaris including Herbivore Safari, Bear Safari, Tiger and Lion Safari.

Around 166 personnel including officials, doctors, zoo-keeper, guard and other staff are deployed for taking care of animals in the Safari. Notably the Chhattisgarh government has also earmarked 258.48 hectares of land in the capital for setting up a ‘Nature Resort’ and a ‘Theme Park’ in future, officials stated. On the other hand, it may be recalled that a ‘Theme Residential Township’—the first of its kind in Central India would have people living in sort of a ‘getaway’ location surrounded by natural surroundings in the new capital city.

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