Paris, Oct 8 (IANS) Companies from across the world have bid for the project to build Smart Cities in India, said Union Urban Development Minister K. Venkaiah Naidu who added that the French want to take up three of the cities.
In an interview to Media India Group, Naidu, who was in France for a three-day visit, called for greater participation of the people in the government’s ambitious project of building 100 Smart Cities.
He expressed confidence that the project of building the Smart Cities would go ahead full steam as a lot of companies from across the globe have come forward to bid for the project.
“The French also want to take up three cities – Pondicherry, Nagpur and Chandigarh. You have similar interest from Germany, US, Singapore, Japan. So, I do not see any hurdle. We have provided the seed capital in terms of Rs.5 billion for each city and then it is upto the municipal administration and the private sector companies to raise the finances for the rest,” he said.
Naidu said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tried to get the common people of India involved in all the initiatives of the new government, be it Digital India, Swachch Bharat or even the Smart Cities.
“The prime minister has clearly stated that these are not the initiatives that have been carved out in some government offices and which can be implemented only by the government officials. In all of these, we need the participation of the people and we are seeing a lot of proactive involvement.
“For instance, in the Clean India campaign, we have sports personalities, cinema stars and other leaders joining in. Similarly, for Smart Cities, we need to involve people as Smart Cities must have Smart people, not just buildings and other infrastructure,” he said.
On his visit to Bordeaux, where he attended a Global Intelligent Transportation Summit, along with ministers from 30 other countries, Naidu said that the conference and the accompanying exhibition have been a very good learning experience and that he would like to see the possibility of implementing some of the intelligent transport solutions in India.
“It is important for us to keep abreast with what the rest of the world is doing so we can implement the latest solutions which are best adapted for our country,” Naidu told the Media India Group.
(Ranvir Nayar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)