LUCKNOW: Criticising the Smart City project of the NDA government, Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan today said emphasis should be rather given on developing "smart villages" to reduce migration of people from rural to urban.
"The central government has announced the plan of smart cities in the country and assistance has also been sought from the World Bank," Khan, who led a delegation to Columbia to attend a seminar on smart cities, told reporters here. He said the rate of migration of people from villages to cities is at present "very high". "This is creating immense burden on the cities."
The UP Urban Development Minister said that every city has its own population capacity and high influx creates problems like rise in law and order problems as well as property and power rates. "The smart city project will result in more migration. Therefore, I suggest that it (funds) should be diverted towards creating smart villages by constructing schools and improving power situation and other facilities," he said.
Stating that cities were already smart, he asked, "Don't you think Lucknow is smart enough, or Kanpur or Varanasi?" Targeting Narendra Modi, Khan said the Samajwadi Party government has done a lot of work in Varanasi, which is represented by the Prime Minister in the Parliament.
"But a not a single penny was given by the Centre for Varanasi, which is 'Badshah's' area," he alleged. Alleging that share of Uttar Pradesh in urban development and minority welfare sectors was being "curtailed", he said schemes should not be affected due to change of guard.
"It results in loss as previous schemes get stuck midway. After constitution of Niti Ayog, the states do not have enough resources to complete these schemes," he said. He said the state government submitted a detailed project on how to keep River Ganga clean by constructing sewage treatment plants.
"However, the Centre said that it could not provide so much fund and is ready to give only five per cent of the projected cost... "I would say that the Centre should either keep the funds or do the job itself. It will only bring discredit that the state was not doing anything even after being provided funds by the Centre," the SP leader said.