Smart City Ludhiana
Ludhiana citizens has a reason to cheer today.Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday announced the first list of 20 cities selected to be benefitted with funds for towards developing them as smart cities of India. Ludhiana is 19th in the list and manages to the spot competing with other two cities proposed from Punjab ; Amritsar and Jalandhar.
Named after Yousaf Khan , regional chief of the Lodhi dynasty , Ludhiana is the trading & manufacturing hub of Punjab — the second largest manufacturer of bicycles in the world after China. Its one of the most literate city of Punjab with an agricultural university and robust educational infrastructure.
Ludhiana’s smart city pitch was well mapped to its most pressing problems and possibilities. Boasting of highest per capital car ownership , Ludhiana also is amongst world’s 15 most populated cities. There is almost negligible public transport with just only 50 buses operating on 5 routes of 70 Km length of the total road length of 1376 Km. The city is very densely population , with almost 25% of its population living in slums. It needs to create formal housing for this section of its citizens who live in dismal conditions.
Ludhiana is faces huge challenge to maintain its manufacturing hub tag. The industries face high cost of electricity , no air connectivity and cheap imports from China. It also faces competition from the more business friendly states of Tamil-Nadu.
And therefore its not surprising, Ludhiana’s smart cities challenge draft states is vision as “Ludhiana,the clean and green by-cycle capital of the country “. It aims to just not sell largest number of by-cycles but actually drive them around the city. 85% of respondents to smart city challenge survey pointed to bad state of air in the city and hence aspire for a city with breathable air.
Banking on skill India , Ludhiana plans to upgrade its large unorganised , low skilled labour to a pool of skilled , productive and capable workforce. It also strives to get back its “mojo” and be a manufacturing force once again. Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi has made a strong bid globally for “Make in India” and Ludhiana aims to make a formidable contribution towards this.
How smart can Ludhiana city becomes in years to come is anyones guess but right now it has scored of other regional contenders to be in the first list of smart cities designates.