Foreign companies selected for preparing Smart City plans

Foreign companies selected for preparing Smart City plansNEW DELHI: Union Urban Development minister M Venkaiah Naidu today said there is a huge global interest in India’s Smart City mission and companies from 14 countries like US, Canada, UK, France, Japan have been selected for preparation of Smart City plans for 42 mission cities.

Speaking at an event organized by FICCI here, Naidu said that 88 Mission Cities have chosen consultants to assist them in preparation for their smart city plans.

He said the mission has generated much interest abroad and companies from 14 countries including US, Canada, United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Norway, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Abu Dhabi have been selected for preparation of city level Smart City Plans for 42 of the Mission cities.

“Think of Ecorys Nederland BV of Netherlands coming forward and winning the bid to prepare Smart City Plan for Bhagalpur in Bihar, Tractebel Engineering SA of Belgium being associated with smart city plan of Dharmashala in Himachal Pradesh, Haskoning DHV Consulting of Netherland with the little known Dahod in Gujarat, Mott MacDonald of United Kingdom with Jaipur, Deloitte Touche Tohmastsu of Japan with Bidhannagar in West Bengal, Data World of South Africa with remote Namchi in Sikkim,” Naidu said naming the companies.

This speaks for the global interest in our Smart City Mission, he said.

Naidu said that it is for the first time in our country, the cities are being selected based on competition under an urban development mission. He said the Prime Minister wants these capable cities to act as light houses for others to follow in due course for ensuring good quality of urban life.

Naidu said that his ministry has given time till December 15 this year to urban local bodies to submit their city level Smart City Plans which will then be evaluated in the second stage of City Challenge Competition for picking up the first batch of 20 cities based on rankings for financing during this financial year.

We would like to announce these 20 cities to be selected based only on merit in January and release funds, he added.

Naidu said that populism is not always the best way and said that if authorities perform people may be willing to pay.

He said politicians were wary of taking hard decisions, but states like Gujarat had Madhya Pradesh had shown that people reward performance and service delivery.

Naidu said he was not forcing any city to become smart city and it has to be a conscious choice. He, however, added that smart cities could only be developed through reforms.

He said that the Smart City project is also a herculean and challenging task. “It is difficult but doable,” he added.

Naidu also said that the Real Estate Regulation Bill which has received the nod from the Parliament Select Committee will be posed to the Cabinet shortly and it could be tabled in the next session of Parliament.

Speaking about the Swacch Bharat Mission, he said the government wanted to make it a people’s movement and it is catching up. He said that while some critics may say this or that has not happened, but that is their contribution, highlighting what is to be done.

Naidu also spoke about the need to utilize solar energy. –PTI

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