Modi govt launches its flagship ‘Smart Cities’ project

RSTV Bureau

File photo of Union Urban Development minister Venkaiah Naidu with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Photo – PTI

Narendra Modi government has finally announced its much awaited list of the cities selected for the PM Modi’s ambitious and flagship ‘Smart Cities’ project. The project lent a high talking point about Narendra Modi, during his campaigning for the 2014 general polls; the polls that anointed him to the high office of the Prime Minister.

The list of 98 such ‘Smart Cities’ was released by Union Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday. The list wasn’t short of surprises, with the capitals of some major states, including Bihar, West Bengal, Karnataka and Kerala being left out.

Interestingly, Uttar Pradesh has bagged the maximum number with thirteen of its cities selected for the ‘Smart Cities project’ followed by Tamil Nadu, which has got 12 and Maharashtra at 10. Madhya Pradesh will have seven ‘Smart Cities’ and Gujarat and Karnataka will have six each.

However, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh failed to announce one name due to tussle on the name of the two cities from the each of them. According to the Union Urban Development ministry, Jammu and Kashmir wants both Jammu and Srinagar to be developed as ‘Smart City’ though the state has got only one slot in the project.

“The Government of Jammu and Kashmir sought more time to firm up their choice. More information is sought from the Uttar Pradesh government about the 13th smart city that is yet to be announced,” Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said after releasing the list in New Delhi.

In Uttar Pradesh, both Meerut and Rae Bareilly got equal points for the 13th slot in the city challenge competition. Therefore, now it is up to the state to decide whom it wants to nominate. Lucknow, Varanasi, Agra, Bareilly, Aligarh, Jhansi, Sharanpur are among 12 cities selected in UP for the Smart City project.

North-eastern towns and cities like Guwahati, Kohima, Imphal, Aizawl, Shillong, and Agartala have also been chosen. However, Patna, Bengaluru and Mumbai are not in the list.

“It is the states which has sent the names of the cities to be included in the project. Names of Patna and Bangalore were not proposed by their respective states. As far as Mumbai is concerned, Maharashtra has proposed Navi Mumbai for that purpose,” Venkaiah Naidu added.

The top 20 cities will be financed this year. The rest of the cities will be financed in the next two years and will be chosen in the category of 40 cities each year.

The Central government will release Rs 2 crore for each of the 98 cities in the next couple of days for preparation of Smart City plans, Union minister Venkaiah Naidu said.

(With inputs from the PTI)