With the first phase completed with financial assistance from USTDA, the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) is soon planning to start the second phase of studies related to developing Vizag as a smart city. Present at the third BRICS Urbanisation Forum in Vizag, GVMC Commissioner Mr. N Hari Narayanan said that the United States Trade Development Agency (USTDA) is now interested to provide financial assistance with the first phase of studies completed and the second phase starting soon. He also said that preparations to turn Vizag into a smart city are being taken up in phases.

He said Vizag is one of the top five fastest growing cities in Asia and the city had already taken a major step by receiving nearly 4 lakh suggestions as part of the smart city challenge and is the first in the country to implement 100 per cent LED streetlights.

In this context, D Alvaro de Oliveira of Brazil suggested setting up of ‘BRICS Human Smart Cities Institute’ for an integrated approach to urban development. Oliveira stressed the need to use technology as a tool to bring social and behavioral transformation. On this occasion, AP Urban Infrastructure and Asset Management CEO Prakash Gaur said that a per capital investment of Rs 10,000 per year in urban areas is required to improve infrastructure. In all, an investment of Rs 53,000 crore is required over the next four years, he added.

In the summit, the experts referred to the strong correlation between inequality in access to infrastructure and inequality in income in urban areas. They emphasized on the need to ensure effective urban governance supported by a strong political leadership and vision to enable cities attract huge investments required for building infrastructure.

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