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With national capital region grappling with heavy smog, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu today strongly pitched for keeping environmental aspects in mind while framing smart city plans. Stressing that the severe pollution level in the NCR region is due to neglect of environment over a long period of time, he said everybody needs to do “their bit” to tackle the situation.
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“We have to be cautious about the environmental aspect also (in smart cities). Environment and development must go hand in hand. If you neglect environment what will happen you have the example now. But this is not a one day affair,” he said.
“Environmental issues that have come up now are not a political issue or a one-day affair. Every one of us from citizen to the Centre, from cities to states, everybody has to do their bit to tackle the issue,” Naidu said while addressing ‘DoPT in-service training programme on smart cities’.
The Minister also took a dig at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, saying, “Odd-even will remain odd. Odd karega, warna God karega (Either it will be odd-even or it will be left to the God). It is not a God’s creation but of humans… everyone has to do their bit to tackle such problems.” His remarks came a day after Kejriwal said that his government was mulling on resuming the odd-even scheme of restricting vehicle use to alternate days as part of efforts to tackle the smog.
Keeping environmental issues in mind, Naidu said, the smart cities would go forward with “innovative ideas and learning from others’ examples”.
He said smart cities are based on “critical pillars”, including governance, sustainable environment, transportation, information and communication technologies, building with provision of solar energy, rainwater harvesting and greenary, among others. To deal with the peaking pollution level, Kejriwal yesterday announced a series of emergency steps including shutting down of schools till Wednesday, banning all construction works for five days and temporary closure of a power plant.