• List of smart cities could cross 100, hints Venkaiah Naidu

    The number of Smart Cities may end up at more than 100, the government indicated on Tuesday as it announced allowing seven state capitals -Bengaluru, Patna, Shimla, Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh), Thiruvananthapuram, Naya Raipur and Itanagar- to participate in the competition. These capital cities were left out of the mission.

    Moreover, Meerut and Rae Bareli from UP, both of which had scored similar marks resulting in a tie for the 13th nomination from Uttar Pradesh will also be allowed to submit their plans. Even Jammu and Srinagar from J&K will be allowed to compete. “One city from each of these states will be selected based on the quality of Smart City plans,” urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu said.

    Neither Centre nor the UP government was ready to take a decision between Rae Bareli and Meerut considering the political implications. While Rae Bareli is Sonia Gandhi’s constituency, BJP won Meerut Lok Sabha seat in 2014.

    Responding to what the logic is behind bringing more cities into this competition when the total number of cities and for each state have been capped, Naidu said, “It’s not necessary that all the nominees from states can qualify. So, there will be room for new cities. If we get more budget once the GST is passed, we may go for more cities under this scheme. The list of 100 cities will act as light houses,” he said. Stephen Curry Jersey

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