Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency, Varanasi, along with Kanpur and Agra are among 27 centres picked on Tuesday to be developed as smart cities under the NDA government’s ambitious plan for an urban overhaul.
These three cities are from the Samajwadi Party ruled Uttar Pradesh that goes to polls next year.
Two cities from Punjab — Amritsar and Ludhiana — also made it to the third list announced by Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday. The Shiromani Akali Dal, an NDA ally is in power in Punjab, which will elect a new assembly next year.
India plans to have 100 such cities by 2022. Sixty have been chosen, including 20 in January and 13 in May, the remaining will be picked by 2018. Meant to change the way urban India lives, smart cities will enjoy uninterrupted power and water supply, internet connectivity, e-governance along with quality infrastructure.
While no city from West Bengal and Bihar found mention in the third list, BJP-ruled states are the biggest beneficiaries. On the latest list, 10 cities are from states where the BJP is in power. This includes Maharashtra (Thane, Nashik, Nagpur, Kalyan Dombivali and Aurangabad), Madhya Pradesh (Gwalior and Ujjain), Rajasthan (Kota and Ajmer) and Gujarat (Vadodara).
Some of the opposition-ruled states have complained that the Centre’s urban modernisation plan promoted “regional inequality”.
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