ATNA: Bihar’s capital Patna has fallen behind other cities in terms of urban development and a lot needs to be done in this area, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri said. Puri, who holds the portfolios of Housing & Urban Affairs and Petroleum & Natural Gas, said several projects in Patna under the Smart Cities Mission (SCM) need to be expedited.
“Patna ranks 83 among 100 smart cities in the country as declared by the SCM. This is self-explanatory. It shows that much needs to be done here and there is a lot of scope for work,” he told PTI on the sidelines of an official visit.
A total of 39 projects worth around Rs 1,679 crore have been sanctioned under the mission in Patna.
“While 26 projects (to the tune of Rs 1,026 crore) have been completed, work on 13 others (Rs 653 crore) is still underway in Patna. Those need to be expedited,” Puri said.
The minister was here on Tuesday to attend a function at the renowned Sikh shrine Sri Takht Harmandir Patna Sahib Gurudwara on the occasion of ‘Veer Bal Diwas’.
The objective of the mission is to promote cities that provide core infrastructure and provide a decent quality of life, clean and sustainable environment to their citizens through application of smart solutions, Puri said.
The Centre had launched the Smart Cities Mission in June, 2015 and 100 cities were selected for redevelopment in two stages.
“Patna has done well in the construction of individual household latrines (IHHL) under the Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U). More than 3,046 IHHL units have been built in the city against the target of 3,024 units.
“As far as implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY-U) in Bihar is concerned, a total of 14,182 lakh housing units have so far been delivered/completed in the state. Construction work for completing 21,564 lakh housing units under the PMAY-U is underway in the state,” he said.
Reacting to Puri’s comments on Patna’s ranking in the SCM, RJD spokesperson Mrityunjay Tiwary told PTI that the expansion of centrally sponsored schemes (CSS) in recent years has put “extra financial burden” on states like Bihar.
“The Centre has stopped releasing its share for various schemes in social, education and infrastructure sectors in Bihar, and hence, the Union minister’s remark about Patna’s standing among the 100 smart cities is not justified,” Tiwary claimed.
The RJD is part of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance) in Bihar.