ALLAHABAD: Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today claimed that the Modi government's 'Smart Cities' project has ignored villages while his administration in Uttar Pradesh is focusing on "planned development of both rural and urban areas".
"Our government will offer full cooperation to the Centre in its efforts to develop smart cities in Uttar Pradesh. Though the endeavour appears as incongruous as wearing a tie while donning kurta and pyjama.
"Ultra-modern townships scattered here and there would be of no use if the vast rural landscape connecting these smart cities was left undeveloped," Yadav said at Sadwan Kalan village, around 25 kms from the city.
The Chief Minister was speaking after distributing laptops to meritorious students and launching a number of projects relating to education, transport and urban development.
Yadav said "ever since the Samajwadi Party has been voted to power in the state, it has been making efforts to usher in planned development of both rural and urban areas. This is necessary not only for the villages but also for the cities".
"In every city we get to hear cries of skyrocketing prices of vegetables and other edibles. If we go to villages, people complaint not about the rising prices but the lack of means trough which their agricultural produce can cater to the vast markets of the rapidly expanding cities.
"If we develop mechanisms through which this gap is bridged, it would benefit both the farmers in the villages as well as the consumers in the cities," he said.
Under attack over deteriorating law and order situation in the state, Yadav said "we are making serious efforts to make police more efficient. Instructions have been issued that whenever somebody dials 100 and lodges a complaint, a police party must reach the spot in not more than 20 minutes.
"To make this possible, we are going to equip the department with hundreds of new vehicles".
Yadav also rued adverse media coverage, saying "my photographs are always pasted alongside any news story related a hooch tragedy in Uttar Pradesh. This is despite the fact that it is known I am personally against liquor consumption".
"UP is a huge state. Had it been a country, it would have been the fourth or fifth most populous one in the world. Governing it is a challenge. We have met this challenge well so far. The management of the Kumbh Mela by our government has won accolades from scholars of the Harvard University," he added.