The cities of Amritsar and Ludhiana meet the criterion for being developed as smart cities. At a meeting called by the union urban development ministry on Friday, seeking suggestions from various states, Punjab local bodies minister Anil Joshi said the two cities fell in the category of 10-lakh-plus population.
He also sought funds for pending works under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewable Mission (JNNURM). "Though with the change in government at the Centre, JNNURM has been called off, there are some pending works. So, funds must be supplied," Joshi told Venkaiah Naidu, union minister for urban development.
The Centre is planning to come up with 100 smart cities in the country, for which Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently sought Japan's assistance.
"All states came up with different suggestions. The case of Amritsar and Ludhiana is really unique, so I requested the minister to take up the smart city project in these cities as a pilot project," demanded Joshi, adding that Amritsar was a heritage and religious city while Ludhiana was an industrial hub.
"Owing to the Golden Temple, Amritsar is already on the world map, with tourists from all over the world coming every day. We can showcase our government's commitment to turn India into a modern country, keeping intact the cultural and religious heritage," Joshi suggested at the meeting. Secretary, local bodies, Punjab, Ashok Gupta also attended the meeting.
"State capital Chandigarh, Mohali, New Chandigarh, Zirakpur and Kharar could be developed as a one-unit metro city. We would send the proposal to the Centre," Joshi said.
Cities of Punjab with a population 5 to 10 lakh, including Patiala, and Jalandhar, also fall in a special category for funds from the Centre. "Naidu asked states to develop their own projects as per local needs so that funds and schemes are not imposed on states," said Joshi, adding that the state would approach the Centre with a detailed project report.