India is building a new and improved "smart" city
Efforts are underway to build the first fully-functional "smart" city in western Indian state of Gujarart, reports The Christian Science Monitor, as part of a push to accommodate a booming urban population and attract private investment dollars.
The site for the megaproject, dubbed Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT), was chosen for its advantageous location. Flanked by a river on one side and a national highway on the other, it sits between Gujarat's political capital Gandhinagar and the business hub of Ahmedabad, with a large international airport nearby.
So far, it boasts a state-of-the-art underground infrastructure, two modernist office blocks, and its own url, but not much else. "The plan, however, is for a meticulously planned metropolis complete with gleaming towers, drinking water on tap, automated waste collection, and a dedicated power supply--luxuries to many Indians," Aditi Shah of Reuters reports.
It's an ambitious project--one that comes with an estimated price tag of $1 trillion. Ahead of his election last May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed not to stop here, allocatting an initial annual budget of $962 million for the construction of 100 so-called "smart cities" by 2022 to help meet the crunch.
Critics of the initiative argue that the point should be to improve existing cities not build new ones. With India's urban population slated to grow between 400 and 814 million people by 2050, it's clear something has to be done for city infrastructure.