Sending a clear message that money allotted for the Smart City project cannot be used for other purposes, Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday said that “everything will be watched and observed”.
He said there was no politics in choosing Smart Cities as many BJP-ruled states do not figure in the list, so do the constituencies represented by many VIPs.
Addressing a conference on ‘India Smart Cities Mission: Next Steps’, which was attended by senior officials from 23 municipal corporations across the country which could not make it to the first list of top 20 cities selected for the Smart Cities project, he asked for cooperation from the people for the success of the project.
“Narendra Modi does not have an Alladin’s djin with which he can make every city smart. It requires public participation Smart cities require a smart leader in action, vision, and implementation. (How can) a city be smart if people don’t cooperate with the administration.
“Everything will be observed and everything will be watched. Money cannot be spent for other purposes,” Naidu said.
The minister also emphasised on greater participation of people and local bodies.
“Urban governance can no longer be business as usual. It’s not top to bottom approach, but bottom up approach,” he said.
Naidu said his own city could not make it to the first list of cities selected under the Smart Cities project.
“In development, there is no politics and discrimination. That is the basic philosophy of this government. I have always said that my cooperation depends upon your cooperation. Otherwise there is separation.
“There is no question of politics here. BJP-ruled states like Chhattisgarh, Goa and Jharkhand could not make it.
Constituencies represented by many important people are not there. Because I don’t expect an MP to make a Smart City. It is the duty of the mayor and the municipal commissioner,” Naidu said.