French Ambassador to India, Francois Richier, has said that his country is committed to provide over two billion euros for the Smart city projects in India with a focus on Chandigarh, Nagpur and Puducherry.
Richier, who was addressing a seminar on ‘Towards Smart and Sustainable Cities’ organized by FICCI, Embassy of France in India and the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), also said that an additional investment of 200 million euros will be made for the extension of Bangalore metro.
Richier elaborated that the announcement was made when the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited France in April. France had then committed 600 million euros for “Smart Cities” and projects related to sustainability, including in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, who was also present on the occasion, said India and France have had a long-term economic and strategic partnership and the creation of smart cities was a great challenge, which could become a huge opportunity for investment for Paris.
“With France, already pledging financial support in developing three cities in the country, the Indian Government was looking towards more such partnerships with France,” he said.
He added that providing clean drinking water, sewerage, building urban transport and infrastructure in the smart cities were some of the areas that had ample scope for partnerships.
Naidu further said that the urban population of India was growing at a rapid pace and added it was expected that 50 per cent of the country’s population would be in residing in urban areas by 2050.
“Hence, now was the time to develop the smart cities to provide for the future,” he said.
FICCI president Jyotsna Suri said that under the smart cities mission, the Government of India has emphasized the importance of cities with urban local bodies taking a lead. This bottom up approach is an extremely progressive step.
She added that FICCI had been collaborating with the Embassy of France in addressing PPP issues in urban sector in India and added that the seminar was a step ahead in strengthening this association further.