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Foreign companies keen on Smart Cities project: Venkaiah Naidu

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Paris, Oct 8 : Companies from across the world have bid for the project to build Smart Cities in India, said Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu who added that the French want to take up three of the cities.

In an interview to Media India Group, Naidu, who was in France for a three-day visit, called for greater participation of the people in the government’s ambitious project of building 100 Smart Cities.

He expressed confidence that the project of building the Smart Cities would go ahead full steam as a lot of companies from across the globe have come forward to bid for the project.

“The French also want to take up three cities – Pondicherry, Nagpur and Chandigarh. You have similar interest from Germany, US, Singapore, Japan. So, I do not see any hurdle. We have provided the seed capital in terms of Rs 5 billion for each city and then it is upto the municipal administration and the private sector companies to raise the finances for the rest,” he said.

Naidu said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tried to get the common people of India involved in all the initiatives of the new government, be it Digital India, Swachch Bharat or even the Smart Cities.

“The prime minister has clearly stated that these are not the initiatives that have been carved out in some government offices and which can be implemented only by the government officials. In all of these, we need the participation of the people and we are seeing a lot of proactive involvement.

“For instance, in the Clean India campaign, we have sports personalities, cinema stars and other leaders joining in. Similarly,
for Smart Cities, we need to involve people as Smart Cities must have Smart people, not just buildings and other infrastructure,” he said.

On his visit to Bordeaux, where he attended a Global Intelligent Transportation Summit, along with ministers from 30 other countries, Naidu said that the conference and the accompanying exhibition have been a very good learning experience and that he would like to see the possibility of implementing some of the intelligent transport solutions in India.

“It is important for us to keep abreast with what the rest of the world is doing so we can implement the latest solutions which are best adapted for our country,” Naidu told the Media India Group.

(By Ranvir Nayar,IANS)

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Modi to lay foundation stone for Abu Dhabi’s first Indian temple

The temple compound will include a visitors' centre, prayer halls, exhibition centre, learning areas, sports area for children and youths, thematic gardens, water features, a food court, books and gift shop and other facilities

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will also hold a meeting there with the Indian community. Wikimedia Commons
will also hold a meeting there with the Indian community. Wikimedia Commons
  • This is Modi’s second visit to the UAE after August 2015
  • Modi was scheduled to arrive here in the evening
  • The temple’s construction will be completed by 2020, and open to people of all religious backgrounds

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Sunday laid the foundation stone for the first Hindu temple in the United Arab Emirates’ capital, which is home to a huge Indian diaspora.

This is Modi’s second visit to the UAE after August 2015. He was scheduled to arrive here in the evening.

“The first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi will come up on 55,000 square metres of land and the groundbreaking ceremony on Sunday will be a historic event,” said Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri.

The Indian leader will be laying the foundation stone for the temple from the Dubai Opera House via video conferencing. He will also hold a meeting there with the Indian community.

“The occasion is going to be historic… because it will also see the commencement of the first Hindu Temple in Abu Dhabi. We are very pleased that we have received 55,000 square metres of land near Al Rahba off the Dubai-Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Highway,” said Suri.

The temple’s construction will be completed by 2020, and open to people of all religious backgrounds.

It will be the first traditional Hindu stone temple in the Middle East, said a spokesperson from the BAPS Swaminarayanan Sanstha that is entrusted with the design, construction and management of the temple.

Also Read: Kerala Tourism to organise promotion event in Abu Dhabi to attract cash-rich Arab travellers

The temple will be hand-carved by Indian temple artisans and assembled in the UAE, said the BAPS spokesperson.

The UAE has two Hindu temples which are located in Dubai. Devotees from Abu Dhabi and other emirates have to drive to Dubai for prayers and offerings.

The temple compound will include a visitors’ centre, prayer halls, exhibition centre, learning areas, sports area for children and youths, thematic gardens, water features, a food court, books and gift shop and other facilities.

Sadhu Brahmaviharidas, the chief spokesperson of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, said the generous gift of land for a Hindu temple by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, “was a strong and sound message to the world that cultural and spiritual inclusiveness is the way forward for global harmony”.

It will replicate the BAPS temple in New Delhi and the one under construction in New Jersey, a trust member told the Khaleej Times.

BAPS manages 1,200 temples in India, UK, the US, Australia, Canada and Africa.

Also Read: Abu Dhabi keeps the Smart City dream alive

Meanwhile, the UAE’s iconic buildings like the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Frame, Adnoc building and the Emirates Palace were lit up in colours of India’s flag ahead of Modi’s visit to the country.

Modi’s high-level engagements here include bilateral meetings with top UAE leaders and a keynote address at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Sunday, in which India is the guest country.

Earlier in the day, Modi was in Ramallah where he received a rousing welcome on the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Palestine. (IANS)