‘Participation in smart city project not compulsory’

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Pune | Published: January 30, 2016 12:03:34 AM

Urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu on Friday said that participation in the smart city project is not compulsory and cities that do not agree...

Urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu on Friday said that participation in the smart city project is not compulsory and cities that do not agree to the terms and conditions of the project can opt out. The minister’s remarks come a day after the official announcement of the first list of 20 smart cities and surprise over non-inclusion of Mumbai in the list. Pune, however, emerged second on the list of top 20 cities.

Shiv Sena had opposed the inclusion of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation under the project and later introducing 14 amendments, which is said to have weakened chances of the project.

Staunchly denying any political consideration while announcing the list, Naidu said, “This is false. There is no political influence at all”. “Parameters for smart city are laid down and decision was taken on the basis of merit. No deliberate decision has been taken”, he said. “The selection has only been on merit and proposals by the respective local civic bodies, he said. Naidu added that cities which are still interested to participate in the project can still submit their projects freshly. “We are giving them one opportunity and they can submit their proposal by April 15 of this year,” said Naidu, who was in Pune to attend a meet.

According to the minister, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) would be launched by concerned local body and union government would have no control over it by any means. He said the SPV will include mayor, elected representatives, representatives of political parties. SPV will be instrumental in getting funds for the project from international bodies, he said.

The minister made it clear that citizens will have to pay user charges to avail the facility to be provided under the smart city initiative.”The idea is to provide quality services to citizens through smart city. The citizens will have to pay user charges to avail these facilties,” Naidu said.

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