Urbanisation Drive

Pune steadily progressing towards achieving smart city tag

Pune city is urbansing rapidly. This has created a burden on the existing civic infrastructure in the city, resulting in issues related to transportation and mobility, water and sanitation services, parking, and security. To overcome these challenges, the government approved the development of Pune as a smart city under Round I of the Smart Cities Mission (SCM) in January 2016. Through the SCM, the government envisages the implementation of smart solutions to provide core infrastructure services in the city.

As part of the mission, water supply projects, new roads and intelligent transport management solutions are being taken up to improve the quality of life. For project execution, Pune Smart City Development Corporation Limited (PSCDCL) has been incorporated as the special purpose vehicle. At present, several projects have been completed in the city while others are at various stages of execution. So far, funds worth Rs 3.94 billion have been allocated for project execution, though more funds are needed to expedite the pace of work.

Progress so far

PSCDCL has made significant progress in project execution under the SCM. A total of 59 infrastructure projects (worth Rs 47.66 billion) have been identified for execution, of which 11 projects worth Rs 2.34 billion have been completed so far. One such project is the deployment of an integrated transport management system on the city’s existing bus rapid transit (BRT) system. It involved the installation of an automated vehicle location system and a passenger information system on buses. Through this intelligent transport system, Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamadal Limited optimises routes and schedule allocations using real-time information on operation of buses. The contract for deployment of these systems was awarded to NEC Technologies Private Limited. As part of the project, an integrated control and command centre has also been developed which provides a visual overview of the location of over 790 buses across 117 stations with the help of a smart location information system. The digital centre seamlessly integrates with other departments as well, which include the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the police department. Street lighting, installation of smart meters, development of open spaces and bicycle sharing are some of the other projects which have already been completed under the mission.

Besides the completed projects, work on 19 projects worth Rs 16.23 billion is currently under way. These include the expansion of the BRT system and the installation of information and communications technology-based solutions, provision of round-the-clock water supply, laying of an optic fibre network, development of affordable housing projects, etc. The 24×7 water supply project is being executed by the PMC and the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract has been awarded to two contractors – L&T Construction Limited and Jain Irrigation Limited. As part of the project, a 508 km water pipeline network (including 1,339 km optic fibre cable) will be laid besides the installation of 49,000 water meters. At present, work of laying utility ducts and water pipelines has commenced. Further, about 100 km of street redesign works have also been taken up to provide pedestrian-friendly streets with wider footpaths and walkways. Of this, 1.5 km has already been inaugurated.

In addition to the completed and ongoing projects, nine projects estimated to cost Rs 24.28 billion are at the tendering stage. One such project is the smart parking project for which bids have been invited with December 7, 2018 as the last date for bid submission. Another tender for selection of a concessionaire for the implementation of a pilot secondary/tertiary treatment plant for reuse of waste by-products released from the Baner sewage treatment plant has also been invited on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis.

Further, detailed project reports for about 14 projects, which are expected to involve an investment of Rs 4.19 billion, have been prepared. These projects will be developed either on a PPP or EPC basis or can be implemented under other government schemes. With the execution of these projects, the government aims to make Pune a smart city by 2020.

Financing

To fund the projects, the central government will provide a financial support of Rs 1 billion annually, while the state government and the urban local body will have to allocate Rs 500 million each for project implementation. To raise additional funds, projects under other central government schemes such as the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation and the Swachh Bharat Mission have been converged under the SCM. In addition, the state government has devised innovative funding sources such as monetisation through land value capture, and through private partners. So far, a total of Rs 3.94 billion has been allocated under the mission for Pune.

Conclusion

The launch of the SCM has been lauded as momentous, but the actual achievement will only be gauged once projects are completed within the stipulated deadlines. While several projects are comple, progress on others has been slow due to want of funds. For 2017-18, no funds have been allocated to PSCDCL. To expedite project execution, adequate allotment of funds with proper monitoring of the utilisation is essential. The successful execution of these projects will help make Pune more liveable.

 

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