Published On: Thu, Jan 28th, 2016

Smart City: Dehradun doesn’t make the cut in the initial list of 20 Smart Cities

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Dehradun was not included in the initial list of 20 Smart Cities which was announced by the union urban development minister on Thursday. Doonites say that the state government, instead of taking over the tea garden land for the smart city, should now develop other projects based on horticulture, tea-garden tourism or eco-tourism in the area.

Anup Nautiyal, AAP leader and tea-garden crusader said, “It is sad that Dehradun did not feature in the first list which proves that our whole approach was lost out on the smart city scheme of the Centre. All the 20 cities, selected in the list, followed the redevelopment model which laid out emphasis on improvising existing infrastructure. It is a big lesson to be learnt. It is a good opportunity for us to learn from best practices made by those who made it and, to improve our proposal. We must learn from their grading which included citizen participation, environment, cost effectiveness and strategic component.”

He thrashed the proposal sent by the state government calling it anti-people and anti-environment and added that the government should now discard smart city proposal over tea-estate and send revised plan to the centre.

Ravinder Jugran, antoher social and political activist said he was unhappy that the state did not make it to the first list and was happy for tea-garden not being approved as yet for the project. He was of the view that the centre might have got clue about the public opposition to the smart city project over tea-estate, which could be the reason for it not being accepted for the first list.

However the tea-garden labor and their association was certainly overjoyed over the decision as they remained glued to the tv set holding their breath to know if Dehradun would be announced for the smart city project . When it did not , they expressed their happiness by congratulating each other.

Chitra Gupta, president of tea-garden association said, “For time being, we feel it is a big victory for us that the proposal of the state government was so week that it was not among the most competitive. However I think that the government must now think of acquiring tea-garden land and turn into a viable project for horticulture or eco-tourism purpose. The labor working for tea-garden now should be absorbed in those projects.”

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