Dutch tie-up on smart cities may be a carry forward of UPA pact.
Delegation from similar project in Amsterdam arrives here today; pact on sharing knowledge was signed in 2013.
A Dutch official delegation, which will be in India starting Monday (March 23) to explore business and investment opportunities for Amsterdam, is also slated to discuss smart cities, a focus area of the current Narendra Modi government. However, the Netherlands government is expected to share knowledge with its Indian counterpart on smart cities as per the memoranda of understanding the two sides had signed during the previous UPA regime.
Replying to an e-mailed question on how the Netherlands government wants to collaborate with India in the smart city project, Angelique Meyer, representing Urban SolutionsAmsterdam Smart City, listed out urban planning, waste management, water management and cycling infrastructure as the key areas of focus. Meyer told Business Standard that these were the topics “acknowledged by your ministry of urban development when they signed an MoU with our ministry of infrastructure and environment in June 2013” on exchange of knowledge.
The team, led by Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan, is visiting India for a week till March 28.
To a query on the Indian cities that Amsterdam will like to pick for conversion into smart cities, Meyer, who’s part of the delegation, said, “Mumbai and Amsterdam signed an MoU in 2012.” The two sides are already exchanging knowledge on smart city development, she pointed out. “The University of Amsterdam and the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru are also working together.” Amsterdam is looking at co-operating with Bengaluru too on cycling infrastructure.
On the feasibility of 100 smart cities, that the current government has proposed to make in the next few years, Meyer said, “We, in Amsterdam, acknowledge the steep growth of cities in India and the challenges this growth brings along for the government and the people of India.” Wanting to partner India in the 100 smart cities project, she said, “Amsterdam can support the project by sharing knowledge in areas that have been tried, tested and true in our city such as cycling infrastructure, water and waste management, sports infrastructure and electric mobility.”
Refusing to comment on the investment required for an ambitious project like 100 smart cities, Meyer said, “what we do know from our own experience, is that we need more than just financial investments. We need an integrated demand-driven approach, involving business, knowledge and government and the people that live and work in the city.”
Amsterdam Smart City was initiated in 2009 by its founding partners, Alliander (the grid operator in Amsterdam), KPN (the telecommunications provider in Amsterdam) and the Municipality of Amsterdam. “We took five years to learn what the potential of smart technologies can be and how new business models evolve,” according to Meyer.
Among the other countries which have expressed interest in collaborating with India on the smart city project are the US, Japan, Singapore and Spain. Although the NDA government announced the project in July 2014, soon after coming to power, guidelines for the scheme including the funding structure are still under preparation.
Nivedita Mookerji | New Delhi March 22, 2015