Crores for smart cities, nothing for model villages: Congress MP

Panaji, Sep 3 (IANS) Congress parliamentarian Shantaram Naik on Thursday accused the central government of discriminating against villages, vis-a-vis the cities.

The Rajya Sabha MP said that while crores of rupees were being apportioned to ‘smart’ cities, the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY), had not been allocated a single paisa.

“The government has not motivated state government officials for the purpose of making Adarsh Gram Yojana a success and, on the contrary, Smart City projects are given favoured treatment to please private investors, specially, the foreign investors,” Naik said in a statement issued here.

Under the SAGY, launched last year, every MP can adopt one village in the parliamentarian’s constituency and develop it as a model village.

By Smart Cities, Naik referred to the 99 cities, named by the central government last month, as ‘smart’ urban habitats for future.

“The logic of the government of India in providing crores of rupees budget for ‘smart’ cities, but not a paisa for the SAGY is questionable,” Naik said, adding that the fate of the SAGY hangs in balance, as state government officials are clueless regarding the funds’s availability.

“Earlier, the plan of the government was to develop new areas as smart cities, but the government must have realised that such cities can never be visualised in a poor country like India. The government is now resorting to the policy of developing existing cities,” he said.

In Goa, Panaji has been identified as one of the 99 smart cities, a list of which was made public by the central government on August 27.

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