To make erstwhile British capital, Shimla, and other district headquarters, 'smart cities', France has come forward to provide technology for better infrastructure in the state.
French ambassador to India Francois Richier, who is here with a delegation of 15 business delegates, met chief minister Virbhadra Singh and briefed him about the services that could be provided by French companies.
Richier, while addressing media, said there were several challenges relating transport, energy, water, sanitation in urban cities of the state and range of French companies had already been working in other states of the country in the same field. “There will be bilateral discussion and different companies will give their presentation about water supply, water treatment, solid waste treatment, energy efficiency, transport, rope car, tram way and ropeway,” he said.
Richier added that the French government funding agency, AFD, was already funding several projects of sustainable development in the state. He also said geographical condition might be a hurdle for big projects like metro, but other projects, including rope car, tram way, could be introduced here. “Once the project is well identified, there will be a dialogue between related companies,” he said.
Keen to invest in the state, the delegation interacted upon the issues, especially related to transport solution and other facilities. The chief minister also intended to develop major towns, including Shimla, Manali, and Dharamshala as 'smart cities'.
“Shimla is similar to what it was earlier, but the population and housing is increasing with time and hence the demand for infrastructure also gone up,” said Richier.
Meanwhile, director urban development JM Pathania said there had been series of meeting with the French delegations earlier. He said another meeting would be held in Delhi soon and after a feedback from the state government's department concerned, next step would be initiated.
After India raised foreign direct investment (FDI) cap in defense sector to 49%, France is keen for more investment in defense equipment business. The French ambassador said the French government was moving ahead with India for defense equipment business. “Soon, contract for medium multi role combat aircraft (MMRCA) project will be finalised,” he said. He also admitted that there was a large scope for defense manufacturing market in India.
France thanks HP
The French ambassador to India, Francois Richier, in the beginning of the press conference, thanked people of state, particularly Dharamsala, and the state government for extending help to trace two French trekkers, who went missing last year in August in the mountains of Dharamsala and remain untraceable.
French Trekkers- Valentin Marcel Gorges and Francois Xavier Camille trekked to Tirund on August 22 last year with a group of 32 members. They went missing after they decided to trek further and separated from the group. After that several teams of the state police, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and army helicopters conducted a month-long massive operation, but remained untraced.