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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to actively consider the inclusion of three major cities of Odisha in the Smart City Mission.

“While complementing the Government of India for taking up the Smart City Mission with Bhubaneswar in the top of the Smart City challenge, the people of other major cities also aspire to be included in this initiative. I am sure the Prime Minister will kindly consider including the historic cities of Cuttack, Sambalpur and Berhampur,” Patnaik said while interacting with the Prime Minister through videoconferencing to mark the completion of one year of the launching of the Smart City Mission.

Talking about the developmental work undertaken by the state government in Bhubaneswar, Patnaik said the city had been devastated beyond imagination by the Super Cyclone of 1999. Basic infrastructure like electricity, water supply and roads were badly damaged.

“It gives me immense satisfaction that over the past 16 years, the same city has developed to be ranked as the number one in the Smart City challenge. Meticulous planning and large scale investment by the state has resulted in the overall improvement in infrastructure and living conditions. This strategy has got international recognition by bagging the urban planning award from the Canada Institute of Planners,” he said while receiving applause from the Prime Minister as well other dignitaries, who were present in the video conference held in Pune.

Talking about the capital city, he said an ultra modern planned city dotted with centuries old historic monuments, nestled in the midst of a vast green cover is a unique phenomenon. Added to this is a coast that is accessible to the residents of this beautiful city, he pointed out.

The chief minister also said Bhubaneswar of late boasts of the presence of most of the top IT companies and has numerous upcoming projects in the pipeline. It is slowly emerging as the IT hub of eastern India. The state government will continue its effort to transform Bhubaneswar into a vibrant modern city, he added.

“We have amended our laws and brought in landmark policies in housing, land development, urban infrastructure, financing etc,” he informed.

In the meanwhile, the state government has finalised the draft report for inclusion of Steel City Rourkela in the Smart City Mission.

“The final report would be submitted to the Centre by the end of June this year,” chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi told reporters after presiding over a high level review meeting here today.

Under the blueprint drawn up, an amount of Rs 2, 500 will be spent on development of infrastructure in the city - with particular focus on an area of 1, 000 acres between Birsa Square and Panposh Square - over the next five years. Roads, electricity, drainage and sewerage will receive special attention in the infrastructure development plan for which the state government would spend about Rs 500 crores. The rest of the money would be contributed by the Centre and generated through the PPP mode, Padhi said.

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