Never understood the concept of smart cities. I have never seen one. May be because I am not a frequent international flyer. The cities that I went to, Bangkok, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, New York, Washington, Texas, Oklahoma, Boston etc were just smarter than many Indian cities, difference being discipline, cleanliness and infrastructure. So can we build a smart city top down? I really don’t think so. It is a fantasy thrown open for much displacement. I don’t know how many smart cities are there in the world. But building 100 in India? And that too at a cost of 1 Trillion!!! Well, what to say. I would certainly welcome such a move if we could at least solve the call drop problems leave alone a decent bandwidth.
Many top notch IT companies like IBM etc have built prototype of smart cities in 3D versions and have been going around the world discussing with governments to adopt the model. But 3D images are good for a presentation, but on the ground, where the current infrastructure is a chaos, it is close to impossible. Yes, you can build a smart city from scratch and ask people to move over there. But I believe that is not these 100 shortlisted places are for.
But a minor possibility of making a city smart is to start bottoms up. First make all housing colonies smart by adding every possible infrastructure. Then make its surroundings smart by re-doing or re-touching and making everything uniform. Then make the roads smart and then go on to the last point of targeting the entire city. The real beneficiaries of such an exercise will no doubt be real estate developers followed by hardware and software companies (Read TCS, Infocys etc). The disadvantages will be nationalized banks from where these companies will make a killing and gradually convert them to bad debts as well as the marginalized who may even be charged for entering a smart city.
Photo Courtesy : IBM
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