City third time unlucky in ‘smart city’ race

SHILLONG: The Centre on Tuesday announced the third list of smart cities and this time too, Shillong missed the bus.
However, Kohima, the capital city of Nagaland, and Namchi in Sikkim are two cities from the North East which have been incorporated in the list and will be developed under the Smart City project.
Speaking to The Shillong Times, Urban Affairs Minister Ronnie V. Lyngdoh said the State government had made it clear that it would not be possible for it to take up the smart city project under 50:50 or 80:20 funding pattern.
“Unless it’s a 90:10 funding pattern (90 per cent by the Centre and 10 per cent by the State), we cannot garner additional resources for the project due to coal ban and other issues,” he added.
Lyngdoh said the funding pattern was the bone of contention and the reason behind the Centre omitting Shillong from the ‘smart city’ list.
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma has already taken up the matter with the Centre and insisted for a 90:10 funding pattern. Apart from Meghalaya, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar had earlier requested Union Minister for Urban Development M. Venkaiah Naidu to share the investment in smart city projects with the Northeastern states by adopting a 90:10 funding pattern.
Shillong was among the 23 cities and towns from various States and Union Territories which were given the opportunity to participate in the ‘Fast Track Competition’ under Smart City Mission. The participants had to submit revised plans earlier this year.
Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram are the other Northeastern states that did not appear among the 27 cities selected from 12 states in the third round of the Smart City challenge competition.
Announcing the result in Delhi on Tuesday, Naidu said in this round, Nagaland and Sikkim had made it to the         implementation stage of the mission. “With this, the smart city implementation is now spread across 27 states and Union Territories and 60 cities from so many states and UTs joining this distinguished club within one year.”
Amritsar, Kalyan Dombivilli, Ujjain, Tirupati and Nagpur are among the cities chosen. The Minister said a competition was held in which 63 of the mission cities participated. Of them, 27 cities from 12 states qualified. Maharashtra has topped the list with five of its cities making to the list followed by Tamil Nadu with four and Uttar Pradesh with three. (With inputs from PTI)