Selection in Smart City list hailed

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IMPHAL, Jul 25 (DIPR) :  Residents of Imphal city should feel a great sense of pride in the city figuring among the 100 cities selected for the implementation of the Smart City Mission which was launched by the Prime Minister on June 25 this year, said Nepram Gitkumar, Director of MAHUD and Chief Town Planner of Town Planning, Manipur.
Though Imphal was not included in the first list of 20 cities, it figured as the 30th in the subsequent Fast Track Competition. The Director said the significance of this can be guessed from the cities like New Kolkata, Panaji and Port Blair figuring in the 26th, 29th and 30th position.
He was speaking at a press conference organized by DIPR at its office complex today to highlight the development activities taken up by different departments of the Government of India. Ng Uttam Singh, Joint Director MAHUD, N Ibomcha Singh Assistant Director MAHUD,  Y Narmada Devi, Associate Planner (Architecture), M Manas Singh, Junior Town Planner also attended the press conference.
The MAHUD Department while submitting the proposal to be included in among the cities for the implementation of the Smart City Mission stressed on its topography, suitable climatic conditions, its history, culture and tradition, it being a sports power house, educational hub of the region and connectivity. Besides the city has immense potential in tourism, IT sector, health sector among others.
The weaknesses of the city include lack of railway connectivity, poor infrastructure, weak economic base, lack of a credible public transport system, increasing traffic congestion and pollution among others.
The total project cost of Imphal Smart City proposal is Rs 1,523 crore. Out of this, Rs 290 crore would be funded through convergence with other projects/programmes and efforts will be made to attract private parties for funding of at least Rs 230 crore on PPP mode.
Some of the factors responsible for inclusion of Imphal for the Smart City Mission are the various developmental work taken up in the last three years which included widening of roads, construction of important bridges at the heart of the city, proposed augmentation of water distribution network under AMRUT, solid waste management from waste to wealth, 15th  rank in city ranking of cleanliness, enhanced power situation and reduction in outages among others. In the Area Based Development (ABD), various projects will be taken up which include: central business district, multi level car parking, conversion of street lighting, foot-over-bridges, West (Naga) River front development. Other interventions include 24×7 water supply (piping and allied works), mall road hard and soft landscape, fire hydrant system in mall, integrated public transport, public health and safety.
A total area of 504 acres comprising the core area of Imphal City (Thangal and Paona Bazar), DM College campus and Kangla will be retrofitted. Some of the key components of ABD are:   Kangla Fort Rejuvenation Program (KAFREP), East (Imphal) riverfront development, river cleansing project, underground drainage for pologround, boundary wall and rampart. It also includes developing an educational hub in the DM College complex.
In the Pan-City solution,  urban mobility and solid waste management for the whole city through construction of dedicated cycle routes and pedestrian pavements is included. The Smart City Mission would be implemented by an independent limited company (Special Purpose Vehicle) established and registered under the Companies Act, 2013. The Imphal Smart City Company is expected to be registered within the next 20 days and once it is registered Rs 200 crore will be transferred to its account to start implementing the Smart City Mission.
Imphal was included as one of the AMRUT cities under which Rs 52.86 crore was approved for 2015-16 for water supply project, phase-I (providing and laying of distribution pipe network in Ward Numbers 7p, 8p, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15p, 16p, 17p, 18p, 19p, 20p, 21p) at a total cost of Rs 50.15 crore and development of Parks and Green Spaces (two parks viz, Indira Park and BT Park) at a cost of Rs 1.28 crore.
As per AMRUT guidelines, a minimum of 2.5 pc of the project cost has to be earmarked for Parks and Green Spaces sector.
Imphal city and all the remaining 28 towns of Manipur have been selected for implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna under Housing for All by 2022. Under this scheme, those earning less than Rs 3 lakh per annum will be given a one-time grant of one and half lakh and those with income less than six lakh can avail six and half percent subsidy on interest on house loans from banks.
Answering queries from the media, the MAHUD Director said the health of IMC has vastly improved over the last couple of years. At the same time he stressed the need for manpower strengthening to make it more robust.

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