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Naidu defends Centre’s smartcity selection

New Delhi:Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu today hit back at Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar after the latter questioned the parameters for selection of cities under the PM’s ambitious ‘Smartcity project’, advising the states that missed out in the first round to improve their proposals instead of engaging in “blame game”.

Kumar had demanded that instead of issuing “vague clarification” for smart city selection, the Centre must “disclose parameters of so called ‘competition’ and how each city fared”.

No city in Bihar could make it to the first list of 20 cities selected for the project.

Naidu in a series of tweets said, “The process for selection of smart cities has been rigorous, extensive and transparent. Instead of indulging in blame game these states should gear up and improve their proposals for the second round.”

He noted the gap analysis has already been communicated to the states that missed out in the first round.

Apart from Bhubaneshwar, the cities in the first batch are Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bhopal, NDMC area of Delhi, Jaipur, Surat, Kochi, Jabalpur, Visakhapatnam, Solapur, Davanagere, Indore, Coimbatore, Kakinada, Belagavi, Udaipur, Guwahati and Ludhiana.

Altogether 100 cities are to be developed into smart cities as per Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious programme.

For this, the Centre has earmarked Rs 48,000 crore and the states will have to contribute an equal amount.

Under the programme, each selected city will be given Rs 500 crore over a period of five years by the Centre with the respective states expected to make the matching contribution.