Gujarat ‘smart’ cities to help ‘less smart’ counterparts in UP

Ahmedabad: Gujarat’s own cities might be burdened with a plethora of troubles themselves, but they are now being assigned to make three cities of Uttar Pradesh smart ones. Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat will help Moradabad, Sahranpur and one more city.

“We can surely help other cities to plan and develop projects, though I have not received any official intimation so far. It is possible the administration might have received the communication,” Amul Bhatt, Chairman of Standing Committee, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, said.

Bhatt added that, “We are providing consultancy to many cities on river front development project. In the same way, we can help them in developing projects that can make them smart cities.”

Dinesh Sharma, Leader of Opposition in Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, ridicules this. He says, “Ahmedabad’s 10 per cent area is still not covered with tap water or even drainage facility, water logging is a regular problem in many parts of the city during monsoons, the ruling BJP has no vision and they claim to make others smart. It is a joke.”

“The ruling party is only interested in big projects without providing basic amenities to citizens. This is what they call smart city,” alleged Sharma. Vadodara has been assigned to help Moradabad. Vadodara Smart City Project Chief Executive Officer Sudhir Patel said, “We are ready to help Moradabad. We will look into the issues where the city is lagging behind in becoming smart city and guide them how they can overcome it.”

Scoffing at the claim, Chandrakant Srivastav, LoP in Vadodara Municipal Corporation, said, “Neither they have vision or commitment, there are so many issues in Vadodara itself.” He added that when Congress ruled the corporation, it was providing potable water to citizens at Rs 180 per annum three times a day, now VMC is charging Rs 700 to Rs 1,000 and are not able to provide safe and regular water.

They are talking about redevelopment of Vishwamitri River, but untreated drainage water is discharged in the river at some 350 places. “The smart city programme is of the central government and instead of financing 100 per cent project cost, the VMC has to bear the burden of 25 per cent, why? Does this smart city give jobs to unemployed youths,” questions Srivastav.