New Delhi, May 11: A BJP member in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, May 11 sought to question the ambitious smart cities project of the Narendra Modi government, saying it will develop already developed cities and increase disparities.
Raising the issue during Question Hour, Bhola Singh asked Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu to explain how the smart cities scheme was different from the work already being undertaken by urban local bodies.
He said since the municipalities and municipal councils were already working on developing cities, how would the central scheme be different. Naidu said the project is aimed at creating 100 smart cities to work as "light houses" for others to follow.
He also rejected suggestions by Singh that in the process, rich areas will become richer, saying though under the plan the cities were to be selected through an open competition, the Centre has also ensured that regional imbalances are taken care of.
The minister also refuted Singh's remarks that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that while East has brains, the West, which lacks brains, has money. He said all regions of the country are rich in knowledge.
"The Prime Minister had never said that," Naidu asserted in the presence of Modi. Maintaining that there was no political discrimination in selecting smart cities, he said the Centre has been helping states improve their proposals to get into the list.
He was responding to a supplementary by Saugata Roy (TMC). Naidu said since funds were an important issue, government is moving accordingly and in the first list, 20 cities have been accorded smart city status.