Big Investment Plans: But limited progress on Indore smart city project

But limited progress on Indore smart city project

Indore is one of the top 20 cities to be selected under Round 1 of the Smart Cities Mission (SCM). The city was selected after a two-phase selection process which included an intra-state selection and a subsequent national-level selection. The smart city proposal (SCP) submitted by Indore was scored on the basis of a number of city-level criteria such as its vision and goals, strategic plans, etc., as well as the quality of proposals for area-based development (ABD) and for pan-city solutions.

Over the course of the past one and a half years, the city administration has approved and announced a number of retrofitting and redevelopment projects with the long-term objective of developing Indore into a smart city. In terms of physical progress, only 40 projects have been completed so far, while about 48 are currently at different stages of implementation. Another 66 are planned to be taken up in the future.

Overall, the Indore smart city project focuses on building sustainable infrastructure for a number of key segments. These include smart mobility, smart water and waste management, smart energy, smart safety and security, smart governance and communication, and affordable housing.

Pan-city and area-based solutions

The city is undertaking two types of development under the mission – ABD (focusing on a selected area) and pan-city development (developing larger parts of the city). An area of 3 square km in the heart of the city, including the Rajwada and the Sarafa Bazaar area, has been chosen for ABD, to be developed at a total cost of Rs 29 billion. The area is being redeveloped and retrofitted through the implementation of a number of projects such as the development of a pedestrian zone, a no-vehicle zone and a plaza. Further, 11 key road projects (total length of 10.7 km) are to be developed at a cost of Rs 1.35 billion. The development of dedicated parking spaces and the restoration of the Rajwada Palace and adjoining areas is also proposed under the ABD component.

Under the pan-city component, selected smart solutions are being implemented with respect to the existing citywide infrastructure. These include the implementation of projects such as the installation/replacement of 70,000 street lights with LED lights, operations and maintenance (O&M) of the installed LED system for a period of seven years, development of a global positioning system (GPS)-based vehicle tracking and monitoring system, and the Indore 311 mobile application. The city is also moving towards renewable sources of energy and is installing a 2 MW solar power plant under the SCM at a cost of Rs 120 million.

Further, smart solutions such as the Indore intelligent city management system (IICMS) and an intelligent transportation system (ITS) are being deployed. The IICMS is being developed as a comprehensive facility that acts as a backbone communications network for all information and communication technology (ICT) enabled services in the city. As part of the IICMS, a central command and control centre is being developed. This will require laying a multi-

purpose optic fibre cable (OFC) communication network with a bandwidth of 10 gigabit and a 25 km range for IT services, integrated solid waste management and other future pan-city applications. Further, a city dashboard which collects, collates, analyses and disseminates information on all pan-city applications is also under implementation. An ITS is being developed to integrate traffic, transit, parking and payment management using ICT elements. It will be integrated with the existing as well as proposed transportation systems including bus rapid transport and metro rail, and traffic signals. This will help streamline traffic and transport management while improving the overall user experience.

Massive investment plans but little headway so far

About 48 smart city projects are currently under way in Indore. Together these projects will involve a total investment of Rs 23.2 billion. Meanwhile, 40 projects at a cost of Rs 1.2 billion have already been completed. These inc-lude projects such as the development of smart classrooms, community and public toilets, and solar power plants. Further, 66 projects at a total cost of Rs 350 million are proposed to be taken up in the future.

Under the ABD component, an on-road parking facility is being developed to cater to 728 cars and 4,108 two-wheelers in Jawahar Nagar and adjoining areas. To maintain the heritage of Indore city, conservation and restoration work of the Rajwada Palace, Chhatri and Gopal Mandir are also being undertaken.

Further, widening of the Biyabani road is currently under implementation. Eleven multilevel parking facilities at Rajwada, Veer Savarkar Market, Jinsi Haat, etc., have been planned. Redevelopment projects are also being undertaken under ABD in several areas such as Jinsi, Nandlalpura Subji Mandi and Malharganj.

As per the water supply and sewerage detailed project report for Indore, the population of the area chosen for ABD development is expected to double from 0.12 million in 2015 to 0.24 million by 2050. This population will have a total water demand of 42 million litres per day (mld) and total sewage generation of about 31 mld in 2050. To cater to this rise in demand, a water supply and sewerage project to provide 24×7 pressurised water supply and to revamp and rehabilitate water supply and sewerage infrastructure is being developed.

Initiatives under pan-city solutions include an integrated command and control centre, integrated solid waste management and an integrated transport management system.

Financing the Indore Smart City

According to the SCP, developing Indore smart city will involve a total investment of Rs 43 billion for project development. Of the total, Rs 27.5 billion will be sourced from SCM funds and Rs 15 billion from the private sector, through the implementation of public-private partnership (PPP) projects. The remaining Rs 0.5 billion worth of projects are being implemented in convergence with other central sector schemes.

The city will receive Rs 1 billion per year from the central government. A matching amount will have to be provided by the state government/urban local body. As of July 2018, Indore has received funds worth Rs 3.96 billion for project development. This is the combined amount received from the central government and the Madhya Pradesh government.

In conclusion

Considering the importance of the SCM in the national urban agenda, Indore could emerge as a smart city of considerable importance going forward. For the successful implementation of projects, issues such as the lack of collaboration between state and local government agencies, inadequate knowledge sharing, low technology penetration and limited citizen participation need to be addressed on an urgent basis. The availability of adequate funds too will be critical for timely project implementation.