The city of temples has a deep connection with Germany. Designed by German architect Otto Königsberger in 1946, modern Bhubaneswar is one of the first planned cities in India. As one of the fastest-developing urban areas in the country, Bhubaneswar’s original town planning needs to be looked at afresh. The city topped the list of 20 cities selected under the smart cities initiative and was the first to form a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), the Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL), to facilitate its metamorphosis into a smart city.
During his visit, Dr Ney conferred with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Odisha’s Housing and Urban Development Minister Pushpendra Singh Deo, Governor SC Jamir and other senior government officials. Germany will focus on the areas of water and wastewater management, solid waste management, renewable energies and energy efficiency, complete street projects and sustainable urban mobility. Special attention will be given to non-motorised transport, including the introduction of e-rickshaws and bicycle-sharing projects. The visiting delegation included representatives from the German companies Bosch, Siemens, Dorsch Group, Harbauer and TÜV SÜD. The German Development Bank KfW is discussing several environmentally relevant urban projects for future cooperation with the Odisha government and Bhubaneswar city, which may lead to concessional loan support ranging from ₹1,400–2,200 crore.
Coimbatore, the second-largest city in Tamil Nadu and the 15th-largest urban agglomeration in India, made it to number 13 on the list of 20 smart cities selected in the first round. The SPV, Coimbatore Smart City Ltd, will implement the initiatives. The local government plans to concentrate its efforts on wastewater treatment, urban mobility and renewable energies, with a special focus on the development of eight lakes. German companies are known for their expertise in these areas.
Ambassador Ney, along with a ten-member delegation, met the mayor, government and civic body officials to take the smart city project forward. A day prior, he had detailed discussions stradd-ling various areas of cooperation with Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, during which she assured her cooperation. Dr Ney reiterated that Germany would use its expertise and experience at urban planning and development to help make Coimbatore a smart city.
Coimbatore has a long-standing relationship with Germany. Through KfW’s credit line to the Tamil Nadu Urban Development Fund (TNUDF), Germany is supporting water supply improvement and water bodies’ redevelopment projects in Coimbatore. Robert Bosch India Ltd (RBIL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the engineering and electronics giant Bosch, has established one of its largest development centres outside Germany in Coimbatore. Additionally, Coimbatore and the German city of Esslingen signed a twin-city agreement recently.
Germany has 50 years’ experience in planning smart cities, and we are proud to be in partnership with Kochi, which is on its way to becoming a smart city, and we intend to start our journey towards that through sustainable and environment-friendly urban mobility.
—German Ambassador to India Dr Ney
This port city has been drawing traders and explorers to its shores for more than 600 years. Interest in Kochi is about to reach new heights, as the city ranked fifth among the 20 cities selected in the first round of the “Smart Cities Mission”. As part of the city’s smart makeover, the local government announced the establishment of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) that will be fully operational in 2021. The project is expected to generate over 90,000 jobs. The SPV formed with a budget of ₹2,000 crore has been named Cochin Smart City Mission Ltd.
Kochi, too, has enjoyed a long-term partnership with Germany. With German assistance, it will soon become India’s first metropolis to have a fully connected ferry system that will complement the existing metro rail and bus transport. The “Integrated Water Transport” project will be the first to be funded by KfW under the “Climate Friendly Urban Mobility” framework of Indo-German cooperation. The agreement between KfW and Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) was signed in the presence of Ambassador Dr Ney. During this tour, he met Minister KT Jaleel, Kochi Municipal Corporation’s secretary Amit Meena, managing director of KMRL Elias George and Mayor Soumini Jain, among others.
A sum of ₹196 crore from Germany’s ₹630-crore soft loan has been set aside to purchase 78 air-conditioned, Wi-Fi-enabled ferries for the Greater Kochi region. These ferries are 20 per cent more fuel-efficient than the boats currently being operated, leading to a reduction in emissions. The state government, on its part, will contribute ₹102 crore. The overall project implementation will be in two phases and will be completed by 2020. It includes the development of 16 identified routes, connecting 38 docks across ten islands and spans a total route network of 76km.