Friday, June 14, 2024

Develop New Shillong Township as smart city: Ampareen to Centre


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From Our Special Correspondent

To be a smart city, hard decisions will need to be taken: Naidu

New Delhi: The government on Friday said cities aspiring to be included in the list for its ambitious ‘100 Smart Cities’ project need to be willing to take “hard decisions” for development.

“Smart city means making urban life comfortable and making living standards better. The concept means providing good governance, efficient health and education services, 24×7 power and water, efficient transport, high quality sanitation, employment to masses and robust cyber connectivity,” Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu said while speaking at the national conclave of states and UTs on Smart Cities.

The meeting, attended by Ministers and Principal Secretaries of various states and UTs, discussed the draft concept note on ‘Smart Cities’.

Addressing the meeting, Meghalaya Urban Affairs Minister Amapreen Lyngdoh demanded that the New Shillong Township and both Tura and Jowai should be developed as smart cities envisioned by the new Government.

“We appreciate the initiative and vision of the Centre in conceptualizing the ‘Smart City Scheme’ and as a State Government we would certainly like to be a partner in the programme,” Ampraeen said.

A major focus point of the ‘Smart City Scheme’ is to address the growing demand of urban infrastructure through upgradation of infrastructure in both satellite and existing towns, she pointed out.

One of the major initiatives of Government of Meghalaya is also the development of new township to relieve the capital city of Shillong. “While it is conceptualised to provide all modern infrastructure and amenities, we will take this opportunity to develop it as a ‘Smart City’,” she said adding “Similarly towns like Tura and Jowai require to be developed in this line.”

But at the same time Ampareen insisted that the cities in North East and especially in Meghalaya, cannot be compared with the standard and level of development of major cities in the rest of the country.

“In order to achieve this we will expect greater level of support not only in terms of financial resources but also in capacity building and technology transfer,” she added.

Lyngdoh said that due to schemes like JNURUM quality of life of the urban poor has improved in the Hill State.

The ministry of Urban Development has prepared a draft concept note on the smart city scheme. The government had announced a plan to develop 100 smart cities to provide better amenities in urban areas. The 100 smart cities will include all capitals of state and union territories and will also comprise 44 cities in the population range of 1-4 million people, nine satellite cities with a population of 4 million or more, 10 cities that are of religious and tourist importance and 20 cities in the 0.5 to 1 million population range.

In the budget, finance minister Arun Jaitley had allocated Rs7,060 crore to develop 100 smart cities. The development of smart cities was also a part of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s election manifesto. Various states will have to submit proposals based on the reference framework to the central government. (With inputs from PTI)


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