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US wants to develop Vizag into another San Francisco

Visakhapatnam: If everything goes according to the plans of the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and the AP government, Visakhapatnam will emerge as another San Francisco on the globe.

A team from Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) led by commissioner Pravin Kumar visited the US as part of the smart city project and observed that San Francisco has several geographical similarities with Vizag.

The state government has invited the representatives from AECOM, KPMG and IBM to kick off the planning for the smart city with a workshop at Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) office on March 11. USTDA India’s manager Heather K Lanigan is likely to supervise the workshop.

The GVMC is inviting other stakeholders including Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (Vuda), Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT), city police commissionerate and Road Transport Authority to participate in the workshop and provide feedback for a detailed project report (DPR).

Confirming this to TOI, GVMC commissioner Pravin Kumar said the project would be categorised in five phases over 25 months. The first phase will be dedicated to a detailed study of mobility, water and sewerage and energy for five months.

“We visited many areas including University of Berkeley, ports, waterfront project, WiFi projects in the US. Green building concept was also discussed during our visit. Water and sewerage is the core issue to be focused on. San Francisco has more similarity to Vizag than other cities,” Pravin Kumar said adding that smart cities like San Francisco were developed over the years. “It will require time and continuous planned efforts to develop Vizag on the lines of smart cities like San Francisco,” he said.

Another GVMC official who was part of the team said that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) has already been signed between the USTDA and the AP government on developing Vizag as a smart city. The consortium will prepare sector-specific DPRs and submit the master plan to the Union government.

Some of the core sectors in the list are sanitation, sewerage, water supply, environment, tourism, transport, traffic, disaster management, non-motorised transport system, housing, entertainment and information technology. A special purpose vehicle (SPV) will also be formed with the concerned agencies after the plan is ready.

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