A group of people in Nagpur is demanding a white paper on Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) before implementing the Smart City project.
Around 22 citizens’ groups have come together to start a public campaign against the Smart City project being pushed by Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC).
They are expressing fears that such a project will lead to privatisation of basic amenities and further prove disadvantageous for citizens.
Several NGOs, social organisations, unions and local bodies have launched the campaign demanding greater transparency with regard to Smart City projects.
“Though JNNURM was announced to ensure basic services to the urban poor, till date there is no accountability of the policy guidelines. The civic administration focused on transforming the city into an investment destination but failed to ensure transparency,” said social activist Jammu Anand.
The participating organisations have alleged that the administration has coined a new term ‘Smart City’ but will follow the same modus operandi as in the case of JNNURM.
“Even in this project, the civic agency has not spelt out the guidelines which will be implemented. We have already witnessed the ill-effects of privatisation of water and bus services. If public services will be used for profit-making under the project, only a certain sections of society will be benefited,” said Swapnil Jamkar of Sarathi Trust.
Anand said when seeking people’s opinions about Smart Cities, the authorities framed questions in such a way that would bring out affirmative responses from citizens. What the public required are guidelines on the basis of which these services would be implemented, he said.