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Venkaiah Naidu lays foundation for smart city project in Ranchi; criticises Maoists

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Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday asked the people to be prepared for higher taxes or user charges in order to realise the dream of smart cities and upgraded, modern infrastructure in the existing ones. While adding that the people would feel comfortable doing so if things were executed in a transparent manner and with accountability.

Naidu, on the second day of his maiden Jharkhand tour after becoming Vice President, was speaking at the foundation stone laying ceremony for the first and only greenfield smart city project, in Ranchi. He also laid the foundation stone for an urban civic centre, a convention centre and an urban planning and management institute.

Calling for the need for peace and security in the state, Naidu also asked those who follow Maoist ideology to drop the bullet and take to ballot, or be prepared for the consequence. “Agar aapko apne siddhant pe vishwas hai, agar aap mein himmat hai, dum hai, to logon ke beech jaao aur samjhao aur jeeto, mantri bano, mukhya mantri bano; lekin loktantra mein banduk nahin chalega (If you believe in your ideology firmly; if you have the courage; if you have the strength; then go tell and convince people, win elections, become minister and Chief Minister. But gun is simply not acceptable in a democracy),” said Naidu.

The VP said, “Nothing can be a justification for violence in a democratic nation. But there are people who remain silent when Maoists kill common people, but raise hue and cry when Maoists are killed. They begin talking about human rights. Human rights are for the common people, the poor people. Those who kill are not humans, he said, adding that peace and security was required for development and success of any project. Jab tak tension rahega, attention nahin de paayenge (Till the time there is tension, we can’t give attention to development),” he said. Naidu also said that mafia elements should not be encouraged.

Further, Naidu said, “If you want good drainage, top class transportation, waste management system etc, you will have to pay a bit more. We can’t burden the poor, but those who can afford it should certainly come forward to contribute to the project.”

Naidu also said that Ranchi did not get the smart city project because of any political consideration, “It was through a competition. When I was the (Urban Development) Minister, (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi ji told me not to award or leave any state or city due to political reasons. So, today, if Ranchi has got the project, it was not because of Naidu. He said that, once completed, this one city would be like a light house, setting an example and leading to demand for more such cities.”

Calling upon people to introspect and find ways to fund our projects, preferably through PPP mode, Naidu said, “Earlier, the panchayat and municipal representatives would look to the Collector for funds. The Collector would look up to the state Finance Minister. The state FM would be look to the Chief Minister; who would then go to the union FM. The Union FM would ask the Prime Minister and then the PM would look towards the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank. We have to change this. We have to look inwards and find ways to fund our ambitious projects.”


Speaking on the occasion, Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das informed that the HEC which has provided the 656 acre of land at Rs 743 crores for the smart city was in poor financial state in the last couple of decades. But now the HEC has got into an MoU with a Russian company to make equipment that would ensure that track maintenance can be done without stopping rail traffic. It will also be manufacturing other safety equipment.

The CM added that Rs 743 crores would help HEC in giving out pending salaries and other dues to its employees, besides other relief and rehabilitation measures for which the Nehru-era Public Sector Undertaking has been struggling since long. Railway safety, and particularly, track maintenance has been a major issue for concern, which was brought to the fore with recent derailments, leading to loss of life and property, at various places in the country.

The greenfield project, envisaging a 100 per cent green city, would be developed over the next couple of years on 656 acres, the land for which has been given by the Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC).

Source: indianexpress
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