Moneycontrol | Hardeep Singh Puri to write to Mamata Banerjee on tardy progress on smart city programme

Mar 26,2018

Amid reports that West Bengal authorities had not made much progress with regard to the Modi Government's flagship Smart City programme, the housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep S Puri has said that he would be writing to the chief minister of the state Mamata Banerjee again on the issue.

“There is a project that was included in the first list. What do I say? I have not seen any progress. So, I will be writing to the chief minister again. I think we have taken this up with the state government. But all that I can do is to encourage them to take advantage,” Puri told Moneycontrol.

New Town Kolkata was selected under the Smart City Mission in May last year. After three months of its selection, Mamata Banerjee had said that the state would not be part of the smart city scheme.

Kolkata suburb New Town-Rajarhat, that has earlier qualified for the smart city project, is now to be developed as a Green City. Other areas that had qualified for the smart city project were Salt Lake, Asansol and Durgapur.

“You know because the selection of that city had taken place based on an application. But if there has been no action on that application, then we are at a loose end. We do not know what to do with it. As I said, I have been encouraging the government of West Bengal to move on this,” Puri said.

Puri had earlier indicated that the city may be formally removed from the mission. “In this case (New Town Kolkata), the process does not appear to have started. So, I think, we will have to take stock,” Puri had told PTI earlier.

The government plans to develop 100 smart cities under the Smart Cities Mission that was launched in June 2015. Under the scheme, each city gets Rs 500 crore as central assistance for implementing projects. It has to be matched by an equal amount by the State. Since the launch of the Mission Rs 9,939 crore has been released by the government. Against this, 753 projects worth Rs 24,511 crore have been completed or started work on-ground. Further, about 287 projects worth Rs. 14,296 crore are in tendering stage and the works on-ground is expected to start very soon, a ministry release has said.

The ministry has so far announced names of 99 smart cities. The 100th slot has been kept on hold for Shillong, capital of Meghalaya.

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