NEW DELHI: Sending a message that money alloted for the smart city projects cannot be used for other purposes, Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu today asked the 20 selected cities to get the projects off the ground by June 25, the day Smart City Mission completes one year of its launch.
The Minister emphasised that there was no politics in choosing Smart Cities as many BJP-ruled states do not figure in the list, so do the constituencies represented by many VIPs.
Addressing a workshop ‘India Smart City Mission: Next Steps’, attended by senior officials from states and UTs and municipal commissioners of the 20 smart city winners and 23 cities participating in the Fast Track Competition, Naidu called for cooperation from the people for the success of the project.
“Narendra Modi does not have an Alladin’s jin with which he can make every city smart. It requires public participation Smart cities require a smart leader in action, vision, and implementation. (How can) a city be smart if people don’t cooperate with the administration.
“Everything will be observed and everything will be watched. Money cannot be spent for other purposes,” Naidu said.
The Minister asked the 20 cities selected for the Smart City Mission to begin their projects by June 25.
“You got to get your Special Purpose Vehicles quickly in place and get them going about formulation of projects and getting them off the ground. I would like these 20 projects off the ground by June 25 this year, marking the one year of launch of the Smart City Mission by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Naidu said.
Smart City Competition was completely city neutral, neither favouring nor discriminating against any participant city, he said adding that it was good if competition brought pressure on political leadership.
“Several political leaders met me and said the competition based selection of cities, based on a set of rules is all fine but it brought pressure on them with people asking why not a single city from their states made it to the top 20.
“If competition could make political leadership at various levels focus on urban planning and governance, it is a positive outcome since urban governance can no longer be business as usual,” he said.