The state government will not go for the smart city project of the Centre and instead will set up green cities. This was decided in a meeting held between the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the state Urban Development minister Firhad Hakim on Wednesday afternoon. The state government will inform the union Urban development ministry about its decision.
The Urban development ministry has already declared New Town as s smart city and is supposed to declare Salt Lake a smart city soon. The state government has backed out mainly on two grounds. Firstly, it will have to dish out Rs 500 crore for every smart city and secondly, as per the proposal, water tax will have to be imposed in smart cities. As Trinamool Congress is against imposing water tax, the state government could not accept the Centre’s proposal.
The state government will set up New Town and Salt Lake as green cities. Many small cities in the state will be taken up as green cities. It may be mentioned that West Bengal Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation (WBHIDCO) has already chalked out a plan to develop New Town as a green city. New Town is going to be under green cover. 40,000 saplings have been planted, besides setting up parks in every block.
There is a park for senior citizens. Most of the office buildings will have solar panels and green buildings have been given incentives by New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA).
Prakriti Tirtha, a unique tourist destination has recorded a footfall of over 50 lakh people. The housing complexes have been asked to plant trees and those who will maintain them properly will be acknowledged after one year. WBHIDCO has started tree census and over 3,000 trees have been identified in Action Area I. The trees have been photographed and numbered.
Tall tree nurseries have come up along the canal and the authorities have decided to replace the street lights by LED lights in a phased manner. A separate path for the cyclists is coming up in New Town where a person will be able to hire a cycle, go to his destination and after completing the work can leave the cycle after paying the requisite amount.