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Govt tells states to launch Smart City projects by June-end

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The Union Urban Development Ministry has asked respective state governments of the first lot of 20 cities, selected under the Prime Minister’s Smart City Mission, to start the project by June 25.

According to an official statement, Rajiv Gauba, Urban Development Secretary, has spoken, via video-conferencing to the CEOs of SPVs (special purpose vehicles) set up to implement the plans, and municipal commissioners of 16 cities of the nine states and urged them to ensure launch of projects by June 25.

Gauba also reviewed the progress in tendering and awarding of works for the projects, during the two-hour interaction.

 A total investment of  over Rs 48,000 crore has been proposed by the first batch of 20 selected smart cities over the next four years.

Remaining four smart cities, which were kept out of the review due to Assembly elections, are in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Assam.

Gauba asked the states to appoint full-time professional CEOs for the SPVs other than IAS cadre officials due to shortage of such officers.

Gauba also complimented the states for their “innovative” thinking and initiatives like mobile governance, LED lighting, smart classrooms and open-air gymnasiums.

Cities that participated in the review were Visakhapatnam and Kakinada (Andhra Pradesh), Belgavi and Hubbali-Dharwad (Karnataka), Pune and Solapur (Maharashtra), Ahmedabad and Surat (Gujarat), Jaipur and Udaipur (Rajasthan), Bhopal, Indore and Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh), Bhubaneswar (Odisha), Ludhiana (Punjab) and NDMC.

Each city will be provided an assistance of Rs 500 crore by the central government and the respective states and urban local bodies will provide an equal amount.

Rest of the required resources have to be mobilised through convergence of all schemes of central and state governments, PPP, municipal bonds and borrowings from financial institutions.

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