New Delhi– Uttar Pradesh’s holy city of Varanasi — Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency — has made it to the list of 27 smart cities announced by Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday.

These have been selected out of 63 cities after a three round competition. Varanasi ranks 23rd while Amritsar (Punjab) tops the list.

With this, the number of cities selected under Smart City Mission for financing implementation of smart city plans has risen to 60.

Spread over 12 states, the third list includes five cities from Maharashtra, four each from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, three from Uttar Pradesh, two each from Punjab and Madhya Pradesh, and one each from Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Gujarat, Nagaland and Sikkim.

Naidu said the smart city mission was on course towards “urban renaissance”.

“The willingness and enthusiasm among cities to participate in more than one round of competition is a clear evidence of the urban renaissance set in motion. The competition-based selection has made the cities rediscover themselves,” Naidu said.

However, he added, that the transformation would not come around overnight. “The cities would not become smart overnight. It would take years. But the important thing is that a beginning has been made.”

Naidu informed that the new 27 smart cities have proposed an investment of Rs 66,883 crore under smart city plans. With this, the total investment proposed by the 60 cities selected so far has gone up to Rs 1,44,742 crore.

The 27 cities selected in the latest round, according to rank, are Amritsar (Punjab), Kalyan-Dombivili (Maharashtra), Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh), Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh), Nagpur (Maharashtra), Mangaluru (Karnataka), Vellore (Tamil Nadu), Thane (Maharashtra), Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh), Agra (Uttar Pradesh), Nashik (Maharashtra), Rourkela (Odisha), Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh), Madurai (Tamil Nadu), Tumakuru (Karnataka), Kota (Rajasthan), Thanjavur (Tamil Nadu), Namchi (Sikkim), Jalandhar (Punjab), Shivamogga (Karnataka), Salem (Tamil Nadu), Ajmer (Rajasthan), Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Kohima (Nagaland), Hubbali-Dharwad (Karnataka), Aurangabad (Maharashtra) and Vadodara (Gujarat).

Of these, Ujjain, Tirupati, Nashik, Madurai, Thanjavur, Ajmer and Agra are pilgrim and tourism intensive cities.

Naidu said that nine states/Union Territories still to enter the implementation phase include Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Puducherry, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

The next round of competition to select the remaining 40 cities would begin in January next year, Naidu said. (IANS)