New Delhi, Feb. 8 (ANI): Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Monday rubbished the criticism over the list of 20 cities selected as part of Centre’s Smart City initiative, saying that the cities were selected by a process of competition and not because of any political consideration.
“There are some unnecessary criticisms here and there about the selection of the cities. There was no selection, it was a competition. In competition, it depends on what grade you get, the city with top grades is number one and the last was number 20, and then rest followed. The 20 cities were selected by competition and not because of any political consideration,” Naidu told ANI.
“If a city from a particular state is not there then they have to explain. They have to work towards fulfilling those parameters. The problem lies with the civic body or the corporation, they have to improve their performance,” he added.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had earlier expressed disappointment over the non-inclusion of any city of his state in the list of 20 cities released by the Centre as part of the first batch of cities to receive funds under the Smart City initiative.
Communist Party of India (Marxist), on the other hand, lashed out at the Centre for considering only the ‘NDMC area in Delhi’ for the smart city initiative, saying that such a proposal showed ‘anti-democratic and anti-poor’ character of the government.
Congress had said that Centre insulted both Bihar and Uttar Pradesh after none of the cities in both the states could make it to the first list.
Populous states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and Jharkhand have missed the Centre’s Smart City initiative. Odisha’s capital Bhubaneswar tops the list of 20 cities as part of the first batch of the Smart City initiative that will attract investment of over Rs 50,000 crore to leap into a modern and dynamic landscape.
The Centre will give each city Rs 500 crore over five years under the Modi Government’s smart city mission. The Centre had pledged to spend Rs 48,000 crores in five years to elevate 100 localities to the status of smart cities.
New Delhi (NDMC area), Bhubaneshwar, Pune, Jaipur, Surat, Kochi, Ahmedabad, Jabalpur, Visakhapatnam, Solapur, Davanagere, Indore, Coimbatore, Kakinada, Belagavi, Udaipur, Guwahati, Chennai, Ludhiana and Bhopal are the cities selected in the first batch. (ANI)