Punjab local bodies minister Anil Joshi said here on Friday that they managed to get the holy city included in the list of smart cities along with Ludhiana and Jalandhar by ensuring that Mohali was mingled with Chandigarh under the ‘metro’ city concept like Delhi and Mumbai.
The minister was briefing the media about the development along with chief executive officer (CEO) of Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Company (PMIDC) Balamurugan and municipal corporation commissioner Sonali Giri.
Joshi said Amritsar was not in the list of 100 potential cities to be developed as smart cities. Being a representative of Amritsar residents, who elected me as a legislator twice, it was my duty to ensure the city was included in the list of smart cities, he said.
“First, we got the city included in the list, then ensured its place in the 27 cities, which have been selected for development under the mission during the second phase, thanks to urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu and finance minister Arun Jaitley,” he said.
“As three cities of Punjab were to be selected under the smart city project, Mohali, Ludhiana and Jalandhar were being named for this. To replace Mohali with Amritsar, we suggested excluding Mohali from the list of these three cities and including Amritsar. Persistent efforts of my department and cooperation of the residents also played a crucial role in attaining this”, he elaborated.
Replying to a query as to why Amritsar was not considered under this mission at the first stage, Balamurgan said there were some reforms to be practiced here, due to which it was being deprived of this status.
SPV to eb set up for execution
Detailing the blueprint, the minister said as per the Union government guidelines, a special purpose vehicle (SPV), a company registered under the companies Act, shall be established in the city, which shall carry out the implementation of the Smart City proposal. The MC commissioner will act as the chief executive officer (CEO) of this company.
He said under the project, development shall be carried out at two levels.
The first is the pan city level for selected areas of the city and under the second level, walled city areas (950 acres) have been selected for retrofitting and redevelopment through desk research, analysis, meetings with public representatives including prominent citizens, he said.
Notably, mayor Bakhshi Ram Arora was not present in the press conference, though the civic body is an integral part in the execution of the project.