The Smart City project being implemented in Puducherry with the French government aims at transforming the city into a global tourism destination by leveraging its heritage, cultural, spiritual and educational advantages, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy said here today. Speaking after inaugurating a one-day conference on 'implementation of Puducherry Smart City Project' organised by Puducherry Smart City Development Limited, which is executing it, he said France had been consistently supporting the union territory in various developmental projects. He said France based Development Agency (Agence Francais pour Development) had signed an agreement with the Puducherry government in January 2016 to provide technical support in sustainable urban development through this project. At the conference today, an agreement was signed between Puducherry government and French Development Agency to augment drinking water supply at an outlay of Rs 534 crore. While the Agency would provide Rs 455 crore as loan, the balance of Rs 79 crore will be provided by the Puducherry government to ensure water supply in all the four regions. Chief Secretary Manoja Parida and Nicolas Fornage,Director of the French Development Agency, signed the agreement. The Chief Minister said that Puducherry (a former French colony), had been described as 'a window on French culture' by former Prime Minister, the late Jawharlal Nehru. He thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for including Puducherry as one of the cities under the Smart city mission. The Chief Minister also recalled the encouragement Vice President M Venkiah Naidu had given for Puducherry when he was Urban Development Minister by accommodating the UT in the third round of allocation of projects to various cities. Local Administration Minister A Namassivayam said the Project involved a total outlay of Rs 1,828 crore.
While the Centre and Puducherry government each contributed Rs 500 crore crore, the balance was mobilised through open market borrowing and public private partnership. The project will go on stream in the next four years. French Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler said Puducherry had come out with an impressive draft plan for implementation of the project. He said France had always stood beside Puducherry and would cooperate in developmental programmes and implementing the project. He said participation of delegates of 23 French firms in deliberations on various projects of Smart Cities club at the conference spoke volumes of his government's commitment to support Puducherry. Chief Secretary Manoj Parida and Chief Executive Officer of the Smart City Project Limited P Jawahar were among those who spoke. French Consul General in Puducherry Catherine Suard, Minister Counsellor and Head of the Regional Economic Department for South Asia (French Embassy) Jean Marc Fenet and Ministers of Puducherry were among those present. An MoU for beach restoration project was inked between PSCDL and National Institute of Ocean Technology on the occasion. Opposition AIADMK legislators A Anbalagan and Vayyapuri Manikandan staged a walkout within minutes of commencement of the conference to protest against 'improper' seating arrangements by the organisers'.