“It is easier to make Chandigarh a smart city as compared to other cities,” said M Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, who was in Chandigarh on Tuesday to hand over flats to beneficiaries under the slum rehabilitation scheme.
He, however, said that the dream to make cities smarter couldn’t be achieved just on the basis of plans. “Chandigarh has the extra advantage of its planned administration, but to get smart status, the city requires smart leadership. People’s participation is also needed to ensure that they don’t do unauthorised constructions and litter streets and neighbourhoods, and also respect local rules,” he said.
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He added that he had directed the local administration to make the city slum-free first and simultaneously apply for the central’s government’s smart city scheme. This scheme will be released by the Prime Minister on June 25 in New Delhi. Naidu, however, said that the government must first construct houses for those living in slums before implementing the scheme.
Another scheme, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation, will also be launched, which will help the local administration to seek funds for ensuring basic infrastructure services in rehabilitation colonies.
At the function, Naidu handed over the possession of 1,568 one-room small flats to several beneficiaries of the slum rehabilitation scheme at Mauli Jagran in the presence of UT Administrator- and- Governor of Punjab and Haryana Kaptan Singh Solanki and other senior officials of the Administration.
Addressing the gathering, Naidu said that housing for all was the priority of his government. He added that a new scheme for interest subvention was also underway, whereby the poor could benefit from the interest subsidies on their monthly EMIs.
Solanki said that the government was committed towards the welfare of the poor, adding that Chandigarh was on the path to become slum-free.
Maninder Singh, Chairman, Chandigarh Housing Board, said that the Board has already completed the construction of 11,168 one-room small flats, including the newly allotted flats.
The construction of 4,960 small flats at Maloya-I has already been taken up and will be ready by June next year.
The construction of another 8,032 two-room flats would be commenced soon, he added.
Naidu bats for Land Acquisition Bill
Naidu also told the gathering that the recent changes made by the government in the Land Acquisition Bill was not anti-farmer or anti-people, as propagated by the Opposition.
“I don’t want to name any political parties, but they should not hamper development in the country,” he said, while also asking people whether it was possible to make houses for the poor without land or any other modern facilities.