NEW DELHI: Smart cities in India have a big potential to attract private investment from contracting companies if the government formulated a clear legal and jurisdictional framework, said Eckart Wuerzner, Mayor of the German City of Heidelberg.
He told ETRealty.com that Smart Cities need private money and contracting is a big concept that can be utilized in India. It is not always subsidy, but a clever marketing instrument to make companies invest.
Citing the example of Heidelberg, Wuerzner said the government can easily frame their fair deal contracts under the Indian law and implement it. There is already technical potential in India, but it is not being utilised at present, he said.
He also said in Indian Smart Cities Mission there should be more citizen participation.
He felt citizens should be made accountable for basic things like waste or traffic management by making the services expensive for the defaulters and subsidising the ones who follow the rules properly.
“This is a push and pull approach, which might not go well with the citizens initially, but will be merged in the system with time,” he said.
The mayor also highlighted the need of sustainable city planning in big cities like Delhi or Mumbai, planning residential, shopping, economic business areas, etc, together. “If this is planned together, this reduced the traffic in the city,” he said.
He insisted that Smart Cities should promote vertical development and need high density areas with concentration of citizens. “A system like SAP or any other system can easily run in such high density cities, leading to proper monitoring and implementation of plans.”
The government, both at the state and local body levels, have to play a major part for the success of Smart Cities, Wuerzner said adding that initiatives such as electrical buses, bikes for employees, are some of the measures that the government should take on.
Germany has recently partnered with India to develop Kochi, Bhubaneswar and Coimbatore as Smart Cities. Germany can bring into India development of a vision, clear implementation plan and implementation within a time-frame.