India in $8 billion Smart City Port Dream
The Indian government is currently working on an ambitious plan to build one smart city at each of the country's 12 major ports for a total cost of US$8 billion, according to Indian Minister for Road, Transport and Shipping Nitin Gadkari.
"Gadkari is quoted in the Economic Times as stating: “Each port will construct one smart city. We are trying to do this. Each city will be built with an expenditure of about Rs 3,000-4,000 crore (around $5 million).
"These will be green smart cities… You will see all these complete in five years."
Gadkari’s vision for the concept will reportedly be built to ‘international standards’, with wide roads, green energy, advanced townships and greenery.
Furthermore, these smart cities and ports are projected to have e-governance links, international standard facilities, special economic zones, ship breaking and ship building centres and more.
The 12 major ports in India are Kandla, Mumbai, JNPT, Marmugao, New Managlore, Cochin, Chennai, Ennore, V O Chidambarnar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata, and handle approximately 61% of India’s vast cargo traffic.
CEO of Essar Bulk Terminal Paradip Ltd, Venkat Rao, said of the iniative: "The Indian government has planned to develop 100 smart cities in India which will be of international standards and eco-friendly.
"Major ports, which are controlled by the union Shipping Ministry, have good peripheral land. Currently, it is understood that this land is being poorly utilised due to various governmental processes and falling vacant. In some areas, slums are developing very fast.
"Some major ports only have a city life, and people are having to move to far away places for education, medical needs, shopping and entertainment facilities. Therefore, getting expert manpower to port facilities is getting more difficult day by day.
"The economic future of Indian ports will only grow at good pace once the amenities and facilities are developed in ports' vacant land.
"The shipping ministry should plan to build smart cities in a phased manner and think of offering to build smart cities to global operators who can provide their services to construct international cities.
"It is viable if the government and port authorities are keen enough to take it forward. Major industries surrounding ports, and port users, can be part of the development strategy. These people can also be partnered with stakes in building the cities."