Capital city Bhubaneswar and steel city Rourkela of Odisha have found place in the first list of 98 cities and towns under Smart City Mission announced by the Centre today.
The state government had proposed names of five cities for inclusion in the programme. The cities proposed to the Centre included Bhubaneswar, Rourkela, Cuttack, Berhampur and Sambalpur.
The names were proposed after a state-level high power steering committee chaired by chief secretary had assessed the eligibility of cities for inclusion in the mission taking into account their performances under various parameters for selection.
Bhubaneswar had topped the list of cities with a score of 70 per cent followed by Rourkela (61.11 per cent). After these two, Cuttack, Sambalpur and Berhampur were tied with scores of 60 per cent each.
On the inclusion of Rourkela in the Smart City Mission, local MLA Dilip Ray said, "We are happy that steel city is included in the mission. The justified demand of the citizens of Rourkela was approved by the Central government."
The exclusion of three cities- Cuttack, Berhampur and Sambalpur from the list has evoked sharp reactions from the local political leaders. "It is unfortunate that Cuttack was not included in the mission. The BJD (Bjiu Janata Dal ) government has been neglecting the millennium city time and again. The public representatives are responsible for it", said Mohammed Moquim, president of Cuttack district Congress committee.
Sambalpur MLA, Raseswari Panigrahi is hopeful of inclusion of the key western Odisha city in the second list of Smart City Mission.
The 98 cities selected under Smart City Mission have a population of about 13 crore, accounting for over 35 per cent of the country's urban population, said Union minister of Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu while announcing the list cities and towns selected for development as smart cities.