The newly installed National People’s Party-led Meghalaya government, following in the footsteps of the previous regime, has insisted on 90:10 funding for the Smart City project. Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya was selected in the fourth round of smart cities plan but is yet to submit its proposal. The Centre had announced the final list of nine smart cities in January and had kept the slot for the tenth city, Shillong, vacant as the state government could not submit its proposal on time.
Talking to media in Shillong, the Meghalaya urban affairs minister Hamlet Dohling said owing to lack of resources, the state government “will insist on the 90:10 funding pattern for the Smart City project.” Dohling pointed out that implementing developmental projects in hilly areas is not easy as compared to plain areas.
The previous Congress government too had wanted the Centre to share the burden of investment by adopting the 90:10 ratio (90 per cent by the Centre and 10 per cent by the state). The present funding pattern for the smart city project is on a 50:50 basis between the Centre and the states.
The demand for 90:10 funding for northeastern states is not new. Former chief minister of Tripura Manik Sarkar had in 2016 proposed to the Centre to adopt a separate funding policy for the northeastern states. Under the smart city mission, the Centre allocates Rs 500 crore to each of the cities for implementing projects proposed by it.
The other cities in North East selected for the Smart City project include Guwahati (Assam), Imphal (Manipur), Agartala (Tripura), Kohima (Nagaland), Aizawl (Mizoram), Pasighat and Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh) and Gangtok and Namchi (Sikkim).
The first meeting of the apex body of Smart City Mission will be held on April 21 in Vishakapatnam.