Didi plans Green Cities

The Bengal government's policy alternative to the Centre's ambitious `Smart City' project involves developing `green cities' with active participation of communities, local bodies, public and private partners.
The plan evolves out of a greener approach to development with emphasis on low-carbon transport, green buildings, water recycling, rain-water harvesting, industrial metabolism and also the use of IT in leveraging revenue. The CM believes her Green Cities Mission Plan could emerge as another Kanyashree that has become a benchmark for development schemes.
The CM has directed her bureaucrats to carve out matching policies for the Green City Mission that will attract both public and private players. According to an Asian Development Bank study , a smart city needs an investment of $30 billion, which is far above the Rs.500 crore support the Centre is to provide and the matching amount the state has to spend. Instead, the state government can tap local resources, make public spending and also apply for foreign funding in facilitating the Green Cities Mission Plan. The chief minister is also averse to implementing a policy that will credit the Narendra Modi government, especially when her government must bear 50% cost.“We have discarded the Centre's `Smart City' concept. We intend to pursue our very own Green Cities Mission Plan,“ said urban development minister Firhad Hakim. “Why should we emulate his (Modi's) policy, when we can do something smarter?“ said Hakim.
The Green City plan, still at a nascent stage, has both political and social implications.First, Mamata wants Modi to emulate her when it comes to development. Second, the state plan, once it sees the light of day, will help Bengal have a footprint in urban planning as well. What's more, green cities reserve 25% of the development for weaker sections of society.
According to an official, the plan may sound too ambitious for a cash-strapped state like Bengal but it's feasible.“Our cities such as New Town, Asansol, Bolpur, Dumurjola, Dabgram already have the infrastructure,“ he said. But fund is Bengal's biggest problem. Under the Central scheme, each selected city is to get central assistance of Rs.200 crore in the first year and Rs.100 crore during the next three financial years. States are to match the amount.
However, the implementation is less easy than said. It requires bureaucrats and urban planners to think out-of-the-box and generate new ideas.

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