21/09/2016 8:58 AM IST | Updated 21/09/2016 9:55 AM IST

Varanasi, Amritsar Among 27 New Smart Cities, Bengaluru Fails To Make The Cut

The Centre wants to create 100 such cities by 2020.

Danish Siddiqui / Reuters
Varanasi, June 2014.

After three rounds of competition, 27 cities, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi, have made their way into a list of smart cities released by urban development ministry yesterday, reports say.

As Hindustan Times explained, smart cities are chosen in a two-stage process. First, a state shortlists potential cities and send the names to the centre. Then, the nominated cities compete with each other.

Apart from Varanasi, Agra and Kanpur are the two other cities from election-bound Uttar Pradesh to feature on the list. From Punjab, which is also headed into assembly polls, Amritsar and Jalandhar have been selected for the honours.

While Mangaluru, Shivamogga, Tumakuru and Hubballi-Dharwad were chosen for the title, Bengaluru failed to make the cut. The latter had proposed an area development plan for Whitefield and a metro service from Marathahalli to Hope Farm Junction.

Amritsar topped the chart of smart cities, which included pilgrimage centres like Ujjain, Tirupati, Ajmer, Nashik and Thanjavur.

With the addition of these new names, the total number of cities chosen for the Smart City Mission goes up to 60. Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said the new cities proposed projects worth Rs 66,883 crore, including Rs 42,524 crore under area-based development (79% of the total investment) and Rs 11,379 crore (21%) for technology-based pan-city solutions. "With this, the total investment proposed by the 60 cities selected so far has gone up to Rs 1,44,742 crore," he added.

The next round of competition to select the remaining 40 cities will begin in January 2017. Each of these cities will receive a central assistance of Rs 200 crore in the first year and Rs 100 crore over three subsequent financial years. The state governments and urban local bodies will match the centre's contribution of Rs 500 crore.

The centre's plan is to transform 100 Indian cities by 2020 by providing Rs 48,000 crore in financial support over five years. It has allowed both Jammu and Srinagar from Kashmir as well as Meerut and Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh to make a pitch for the smart city project, but also clarified that only one city will be picked from each state. These states are yet to decide their respective nominations.

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