Setting an Example: Project implementation in select smart cities

Project implementation in select smart cities

Three years into implementation, the Smart Cities Mission (SCM) has gained significant traction. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has selected 100 cities since the launch of the mission. The selected cities are finally beginning to make headway.

Indian Infrastructure takes a look at the progress reported in some of these cities…


The Gwalior smart city project was selected under Round II of the SCM to be developed at an estimated cost of Rs 22.5 billion. The project comprises 11 modules – heritage and culture, mobility, urban transit, housing, solid waste management, sustainability, recreation and social upgradation, technology, economic development, infrastructure, and a command and control centre. The smart city entails the implementation of a total of 71 sub-projects, of which 58 fall in the area-based development (ABD) category and the remaining under the pan-city development category.

The key projects planned to be undertaken on a priority basis include revitalisation of Maharaj Bada, rejuvenation of the Swarnrekha river along with riverfront development, redevelopment of the Moti Mahal Complex as an integrated command and control centre (ICCC), promoting public bike sharing, deployment of an integrated traffic management system (ITMS) and the development of smart roads, smart parking, cycle tracks, smart classrooms, smart healthcare ATMs, parks and playgrounds. Other projects under the plan include a digital library, a heritage museum, solar buildings and solar plants, reorganisation of the Nazarbagh and Subhash markets, etc.

During the past year, the Gwalior smart city has made significant headway with work on 27 sub-projects worth Rs 1.76 billion currently under way. Meanwhile, 16 sub-projects costing Rs 4.47 billion are at the tendering stage. Work on city parks and city buses has already been completed while rooftop solar plants have been installed on 15 government buildings. Besides, waste treatment plants have been set up and door-to-door collection of solid waste in 26 wards has already commenced. The civil work for the ICCC has been completed while Hewlett-Packard is in the process of setting up the requisite integrated systems. The ICCC is likely to be commissioned by January 2019.

Besides, work on the digital library and a virtual museum has commenced while the conversion of the Town Hall building into a theatre is currently under way. Work on the public bike- sharing system is also in progress with a few bike-sharing stations likely to be completed soon. Meanwhile, Gwalior Smart City Development Corporation Limited (GSCDCL) has issued tenders for various works such as revitalisation of Maharaja Bada, development of a smart road network, installation of a 10 MW solar power plant, construction of a planetarium and museum behind the old school building, and deployment of an ITMS. These are likely to be awarded in early 2019. Besides, tenders for the work of developing smart classrooms, provision of health ATMs, rejuvenation of the Subarnarekha river, etc., are likely to be floated soon.


The Visakhapatnam smart city project was selected under Round I of the SCM, to be developed at an investment of Rs 17.5 billion. As per the plan proposed in 2015, the project was to comprise a total of 32 sub-projects, which upon assessment has now increased to 53 sub-projects – 25 in the pan-city category and 28 in the ABD category. The city was envisioned to be developed as a resilient and healthy metropolis for its people with elements of sustainability, healthy living, equality and innovation.

As of October 2018, a total of 21 sub-projects have already been completed while work on 17 sub-projects is currently under way. Nearly 17 per cent of the total sub-projects are at the tendering stage while the remaining 11 per cent are at preliminary stages of implementation, and tenders for these are likely to be issued by December 2018.

With much emphasis on social infrastructure while building the smart city, Visakhapatnam has emerged as the first city in the country to implement a 2 MW floating solar power plant project, which was inaugurated in August 2018. Besides, a social inclusion sub-project has also been completed for children with special abilities to play. The upgradation of 31 public schools into smart schools has also been completed and the SPV has now extended the plan to another 140 schools, for which tenders have already been issued. The tunnelling and underground cabling works for smart streets have been completed and the contract for the installation of the smart street lighting system has been finalised.

Meanwhile, work on sports arenas, sewerage treatment plants (STPs), a public bike-sharing system and six all-ability public spaces is currently under way. Tenders have been issued for heritage and historical restoration works and major emphasis has been laid on developing pedestrian infrastructure in the city by widening carriageways and providing dedicated vending and parking zones along the streets.


The Tirupati smart city project was included in the SCM under Round II of selection. It is estimated to entail a cost of Rs 19.5 billion and comprises a total of 55 sub-projects – 30 in the ABD category and 25 in the pan-city development category. Under the mission, Tirupati is planned to be developed as a twenty-first-century pilgrimage city promoting arts, innovation and sustainable growth.

Till October 2018, nearly 7 per cent of the total identified sub-projects had been commissioned and about 20 per cent are under execution. Meanwhile, 26 sub-projects are at the tendering stage and tenders for the remaining sub-projects are likely to be issued soon.

In order to ensure a city-wide comprehensive health programme for children, Tirupati Smart City Corporation Limited (TSCCL) is executing the “smart e-health” project, with the aim of developing a scalable, technology-enabled standardised health benchmark for schools. Under the programme, Healthsetgo Services Private Limited has already conducted a medical health assessment of students in four schools and the assessment results have been made available on a web portal for parents.

Besides, various forms of art works are being carried out on public water tanks as a part of city beautification and select spaces being redesigned for public gatherings and festivals. A public bike-sharing system has been developed and special emphasis has been laid on widening of carriageways while building smart streets in order to encourage walking and to accommodate a greater number of pedestrians.

In addition, a 5 million litre per day STP has been set up to rejuvenate Vinayaksagar Lake. Further, TSCCL has issued tenders for undertaking tunnelling and underground cabling works to build smart streets and deploy street lighting systems.


Bareilly was selected as a smart city project in Round IV of the SCM. Earlier, the smart city comprised a total of 74 sub-projects; however, these have now been revised to only 20 sub-projects. Of these, 16 sub-projects lie within the ABD area while the remaining are pan-city projects.

The Bareilly smart city project will require a total investment of Rs 20.49 billion, of which Rs 10.46 billion will be provided by the central and state governments under the SCM, Rs 5.24 billion will be funded through convergence of the projects with other state/central schemes and the remaining Rs 4.79 billion will be funded by the private investors under the public-private partnership (PPP) model.

Of all the sub-projects to be executed under the smart city plan, Bareilly Smart City Limited has identified seven sub-projects worth Rs 3.57 billion to be taken up on a priority basis. These projects comprise developing a handicraft promotion centre, building 150 smart classes, installing 8 MW of rooftop solar plants (1.5 MW to be developed under Phase I), building integrated urban infrastructure along with developing roads and retrofitting areas, undertaking branding and public relations activities on a PPP basis, and setting up an ICCC.

Other key sub-projects in the city include construction of multilevel parking spaces at five locations, development of a 25 km long road network (about 1.5 km stretch from Aayub Khan Chowk to Novelty Chauraha to be developed on a pilot basis initially), rejuvenation of lakes, and provision of facilities such as ATMs, jogging paths, commercial complexes, smart city surveillance, intelligent transport, smart parking, smart street lighting, etc.

Currently, Srei Infrastructure Finance Limited has been appointed as the project management consultant for the Bareilly smart city project and preliminary works have commenced on priority sub-projects. Studies are being conducted for developing an ICCC and various buildings have been identified for the installation of solar rooftop plants. In addition, around 100 government schools have been identified for developing smart classrooms.


Bhopal was selected under Round I of the City Challenge under the SCM. It was estimated to entail an investment of Rs 35 billion, of which Rs 8.75 billion was earmarked for pan-city initiatives while the remaining Rs 26.28 billion was planned to be invested for area-based interventions. The project was envisioned to transform Bhopal into a leading destination for smart, connected and eco-friendly communities focused on education, research, entrepreneurship and tourism.

The Bhopal smart city project is currently under way and has made considerable progress. Most of the sub-projects have either been commissioned or are under implementation, with a few being recently awarded. As of October 2018, about 70 per cent of the sub-projects in the ABD category had already been awarded while a few are likely to be awarded in early 2019. The state government has handed over the entire 342 acres of land in the ABD area to Bhopal Smart City Development Corporation Limited (BSCDCL) for project implementation and all the requisite clearances, including clearances from the National Green Tribunal, have been obtained by the corporation. Eight services at the local level and three at the state level have been integrated with the city’s command and control centre and standard operating procedures have been identified and defined for its operations.

Besides, the ITMS has already generated over 35,000 e-challans and automatic number plate recognition cameras have been installed for surveillance at about 22 locations. These cameras are likely to be installed soon at another seven locations in the city. Further, more than 50 start-ups have set up their offices in the Incubation Centre built under the smart city plan. All 20,000 LED street lights have been fitted and installation of 400 smart poles with environmental sensors is in progress. Meanwhile, BSCDCL has deployed a smart health system, known as “e-health”, in the pan-city area and this will be replicated in the ABD area soon. Going with the “one city one app” concept, BSCDCL has integrated all the emergency SOS features in the city app. The app also provides other key services such as dynamic marketing, technician on call, GIS mapping, etc.

Meanwhile, tenders have been issued for developing information and communications technology infrastructure in the ABD area, building smart classrooms and installing a supervisory control and data acquisition system, along with awarding contracts for transfer and collection of waste and installation of smart bins. In addition, BSCDCL has finalised the detailed project report for electricity distribution and supply management services in the smart city and tenders for the same are likely to be floated soon. Further, works related to building smart schools, installation of smart poles and intelligent street poles, water management, etc., have been awarded by the corporation for the pan-city area and tenders for the ABD area are likely to be issued soon.

In sum

During implementation, city corporations have faced a number of challenges. Some of these are non-availability of accurate data, reluctance of people to participate in projects, difficulties in interdepartmental coordination, political disruptions leading to huge pressures on the developers, dependence of one project on another resulting to delays in implementation, conventional methods of procurement, among others. Resolving these issues will result in the speedy implementation of the smart city projects.

Based on presentations by Mahip Tejasvi, Chief Executive Officer, Gwalior Smart City; Vishal Kundra, City Planner, Designer, Head, Design Planning and Economics, AECOM Asia Private Limited; Neeraj Singh, Assistant Vice President, Srei Infrastructure Finance, and Project Management Consultant, Bareilly Smart City; and Rajendra Singh Rathore, Engineer, IT, Bhopal Smart City, at a recent India Infrastructure conference