Stating that the Smart City project implementation in Guwahati is "not satisfactory", Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu today said the North East states have to improve implementation of central government schemes to catch up with the rest of the country in development. "The North Eastern states have to catch up with the rest of the country.
The region needs to improve implementation in all schemes," the Union Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation said addressing a press conference here. Pointing out that eight cities have been initially shortlisted for the 100 Smart Cities programme, the Minister said the states and selected cities need to expedite the pace of putting in place institutional arrangements and project preparation. He expressed dissatisfaction at the progress made in the Smart City project in Guwahati, which was selected in the first round on January 28, 2016. Naidu today reviewed the progress of schemes in all eight North East states at a secretary-level meeting yesterday and a ministerial-level meeting here today. He said the Centre has launched four major missions - AMRUT, SBM, Smart Cities and PMAY during 2014-15, and there are special schemes for the North East region that include ten per cent lump sum scheme for all urban local bodies (ULBs) of the NE and Asian Development Bank (ADB) assisted programme for five NE state capitals. On Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) implementation in the NE region, Naidu said there is a potential to vastly improve coverage of piped water supply and provide 24x7 drinking water. The Minister stated that in the missions, the Centre has provided greater flexibility to states and no individual project are examined, and said "All decision making, including final projects approvals, is in the hand of the state government. Provisions of capacity building is at the state and city levels in all missions to strengthen planning and implementation." On Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), Naidu expressed satisfaction that Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh have been able to show good progress in toilet construction programmes, achieving 60 per cent of their targets.