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Govt asks 20 cities to launch Smart City projects by June 25

Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday 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.

Calling upon the officials and agencies concerned to fast-track the projects, Naidu said: “What mattered is not where a city stands now but where it likes to go and how it proposes to go based on a vision drawn from the inherent strengths of a city and backed by a credible action plan.”

He emphasised that there was no politics in choosing Smart Cities as many BJP-ruled states do not figure on the list, so do the constituencies represented by many VIPs.

Referring to the top 20 cities, Naidu noted that ‘lesser known Davanagere in Karnataka and Solpaur in Maharashtra scored higher than the well-known New Delhi Municipal Council. Little known Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh did much better than Chennai in terms of ranks. 

“I see no reason why Bhagalpur in Bihar, Ranchi in Jharkhand and Dehradun in Uttarakhand could not do what Belagavi in Karnataka did in coming out with a sound vision and a credible strategy to realise it and making it to the top 20,” Naidu said.

The Minister added: “Everything will be observed and everything will be watched. Money cannot be spent for other purposes,” Naidu said.

The Union Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs minister urged the 23 cities participating in the fast-track competition such as Warangal, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Bhagalpur, Dehradun etc., to improve their proposals by learning from the experience of the first batch of 20 cities and asked the top 20 cities to get going by operationalising special purpose vehicles and launching smart city projects.
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