Pune city has been undergoing rapid urbanisation. This has placed an additional burden on the existing civic infrastructure, resulting in transportation and mobility, water and sanitation, parking and security issues. In view of these challenges, the government approved the development of the Pune smart city under Round I of the Smart Cities Mission in January 2016. Under the mission, the government aims to implement smart solutions across the city to efficiently provide core infrastructure services.
To this end, water supply projects, new roads and intelligent transport management solutions are being taken up. Pune Smart City Development Corporation Limited (PSCDCL) has been incorporated as the special purpose vehicle for project execution. Several smart city projects in the city have already been completed while others are at various stages of execution. So far, funds worth Rs 3.94 billion have been allocated for project execution, although more funds are needed to expedite the pace of work.
Progress so far
PSCDCL has made significant progress in project execution under the Smart Cities Mission. 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, including the integrated transport management system deployed on the existing bus rapid transit (BRT) system. The project involved the installation of automated vehicle location systems and passenger information systems on buses. Through this intelligent transport system, Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamadal Limited optimises and schedules routes using real-time information on the operation of buses. The contract for the deployment of these systems was awarded to NEC Technologies Private Limited. As part of the project, an integrated control and command centre has been developed. It 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 is integrated with other departments such as the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the police department. Street lighting, smart meters, development of open spaces and bicycle sharing are some of the other projects that have been completed under the mission. Besides the completed projects, work on 19 projects worth Rs 16.23 billion is under way. These include the expansion of the BRT system and the installation of ICT-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 PMC and the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract has been awarded to two contractors – L&T Construction Limited and Jain Irrigation Limited. The project involves the installation of a 508 km water pipeline network (including 1,339 km of optic fibre cable) and 49,000 water meters. The work of laying utility ducts and water pipelines has commenced. Further, about 100 km of street redesign works have 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. These projects include smart parking project and pilot secondary/tertiary treatment plant for the reuse of waste by-products released from the Baner sewage treatment plant to be developed in public-private partnership (PPP) mode. Further, detailed project reports for about 14 projects have been prepared. These projects, expected to involve an investment of Rs 4.19 billion, can be developed on a PPP or EPC basis or under government schemes. With the execution of these projects, the government aims to make Pune a smart city by 2020.
To fund the projects, the central government will provide financial support of Rs 1 billion annually, while the state government and the urban local body will provide Rs 500 million each. To raise additional funds, projects under central government schemes such as the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation and the Swachh Bharat Mission have been converged under the Smart Cities Mission. In addition, the state government has devised innovative funding sources such as monetisation through land value capture and private partnerships. So far, a total of Rs 3.94 billion has been allocated for the Pune smart city project.
The Smart Cities Mission has been lauded as momentous, but its actual impact can be gauged only when the projects are completed within the stipulated deadlines. While several projects have already been completed, progress on others has been slow due to paucity of funds. For 2017-18, no funds were allocated to PSCDCL. To expedite project execution, the adequate allotment of funds with proper monitoring of their utilisation is essential.