The state Urban Development and Municipal Affairs Minister Firhad Hakim on Friday lashed out at the Centre for its ‘discriminatory attitude’ towards the selection of cities, which would be converted into smart cities.
The Centre had 20 cities which would be converted in the first phase. None of the cities in West Bengal has been included in the first list. Four cities New Town, Durgapur, Salt Lake and Haldia will get the Smart City status.
Hakim said a video conference between the Union secretary and his counterpart in the state took place on Friday morning to discuss the matter.
He also spoke to the Union minister Venkaiah Naidu. He said the Centre had assured that New Town would be included in the second list which would be published in April, while Salt Lake, Haldia and Durgapur would be included in the third list which will be published in July.
The Centre will give Rs 100 crore to the smart cities for five years, while the state government will provide another Rs 100 crore during the period.
The state government had submitted the plans that would be included in the Smart City project.
Following Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s intiative, New Town has been given new look.
The Eco Park has also become a tourist destination. In December 2015, a floating restaurant was set up there. A toy train has been introduced where the visitors can enjoy hop on hop off facilities. The train will move along the lake and it will take around 45 minutes to cover the entire route.
As a part of environment friendly drive, Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation (Hidco) proposes to include cycling in the Smart City where a person can hire bicycle by paying requisite fees and take it to his work place. The project will also benefit the students.
A wellness hub is coming up in New Town by April. New Town will also become the cultural hub. Cultural programmes are regularly held at Rabindra Tirtha where some budding directors present their plays on every Sunday.