Vadodara finally made it to the list of 100 Smart Cities on Tuesday, with Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu announcing the city in the third list of Smart Cities. The inclusion of the city in the list has prompted the Congress party to draw the civic body’s attention to the “priorities” in the city’s development. In a statement on Tuesday, VMC Opposition leader from the Congress Chandrakant Shrivastav said that the party has been opposing the Smart City project in principle as the civic body has spent more money on advertisements, since the announcement of the project, than on civic issues.
Shrivastav said, “Ever since the Smart City project was announced, the VMC has spent lakhs of rupees on advertising about the same. We have been registering our protest against the project from the beginning. It is not because we are against the development but the way in which it is being done. The city is in drastic need of better health facilities, for which there is no initiative from the ruling party.”
Shrivastav pointed out that while the Smart City project aims to “improve the life” of citizens, the need is to make the standard of living better. “There are so many areas in the city where drinking water is still a problem as there are no pipelines. Many areas are receiving polluted water. The drainage system in the city needs a thorough revamp along with the storm water drains that are serving us since the times of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad and a major cause of the monsoon floods is the lack of advancement of these networks,” he said. He added that the Smart City project must include the entire city under its purview and not areas that have been “superficially beautified”.