It is a gala moment for Ludhiana. This beautiful and the largest city of Punjab rose to a widespread fame after it was placed in the list of first 20 smart cities as declared by Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu. The city wore the ‘smart city’ tag and literally surpassed relatively populous cities battling for their placement in the smart city competition. Ludhiana is now all set to witness smart city revamp.
Standing majestically in the heart of National Highway 01 connecting New Delhi to Amritsar, Ludhiana falls in the distance of 98 kms west from Chandigarh – another spectacular city of Punjab which is coined as ‘smart city’ because of sheer grandeur and winsome traits the city endows.
What made Ludhiana to be in the smart city slot?
First of all it was not coincidental of Ludhiana to have slotted in the list of smart city. It earned its placement in the slot. In fact, it’s been shortlisted under certain parameters that the city fulfilled during the course of selection.
Let’s study smart city prospect to understand this better.
A smart city is not a typical ordinary city. It’s a dwelling place giving privileged lifestyle. Technically speaking, it consists of urban spaces which are totally eco-friendly, well-planned and integrated technology-wise. The quality of life in the smart cities is notably more comfortable compared to its relatively less modeled and revamped counterparts. Though the standard of living is not comparable to the one found in ultra-luxury villas, yet quality living and the way facilities are offered make smart cities an experience of having dream-living accommodations – at least far better and cozier than any ‘concrete jungle’ city.
A life of such standard in smart cities is facilitated by smart solutions encompassing IT connectivity, e-governance, citizen participation, institutional and financial model, power, water, sanitation and mobility. Therefore, smart city understandably holds substantial values when it comes to evaluating living standard and civic comfort.
Selection in the List of Smart City
So, a city of such mega status requires employing an in-depth consideration of all the believable parameters and criteria determining its placement in the smart city slot.
The two elements – e-governance and city participation – proved helpful for Ludhiana to get selected for smart city. They are also parameters considered for any city to qualify for smart city. Means, Ludhiana is one of the winner cities where show of e-governance and civic participation to vote their respective cities for smart city was bubbling with excitement. To say otherwise, denizens of Ludhiana, like fully aware civilians, orchestrated programs and participated in government’s discussion forums online to speak their mind for their city to be chosen for smart city program.
Moreover, the use of social media was impressively huge as citizens, especially students and youth, signed in on government’s online portal, mygov.in and shared their viewpoints on desirable features for the city. According to the media reports, responses on the portal and social media were overwhelming for Ludhiana.
When Ludhiana Municipal Corporation sought feedbacks from denizens through social media channels, there was deluge of responses favoring the cause; large number of respondents voiced their takes on various issues like pollution, infrastructure and traffic etc. For example, ‘Ludhiana — Jiven Main Vekhan’ the online campaign was organized to galvanize the response of people on the website of mygov.in.
The campaign proved notably worthwhile for churning in an estimated volume of 2,200 submissions.
Some of the critical issues Ludhiana face include traffic gridlocks, impure drinking water, insufficient public transport and surging level of air pollution. These problems were drawn to attention by media, residents and officials of the state government. It showed the concentrated efforts of authority and civic for making Ludhiana a smart city. To state otherwise, civic participation was on the surge. Reports say there were several rounds of visits made by MC officials of the city Chandigarh and New Delhi to discuss proposals with the officials of state and central government.
The real estate industry in Ludhiana is active and flourishing, which means the city is one of the 30 cities where opportunities are diverse. Ludhiana is one of the tier-3 cities with cost-effective location full of skilled manpower, while surge in consumer power makes city an ideal heaven for retailers. Ludhiana is one among top 10 tier-3 cities in office market and whose growth is driven by affordable realty market and skilled laborers favorable for office set-up in the city for any enterprise.
Ludhiana is home to a chain of organized stock in retail segment. To say the least, the city is den for retail business due to having improved infrastructure, buying capacity of consumers and mature retail with quality finished stock. These factors lay the bedrock for city’s having been selected in Smart City slot. Moreover, the city is the ideal destination for national and global brands coming to the city on large scale.
If analyzed based on the national and international companies moving into Ludhiana, then the city fares well on ‘Smart City’ selection criteria. This is because the penetration of celebrated brands to the city signifies its soaring realty values, both in commercial and residential aspects, and since real estate is the second largest employment sector after agriculture, Ludhiana’s selection in smart city is deserving and appropriate.
Image courtesy: Google