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Modi government releases list of 98 cities to be developed into smart cities

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By NewsGram Staff-Writer

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New Delhi: Narendra Modi government, on Thursday released a list of 98 cities that will be included in its smart-cities program. The list has been prepared after detailed consultation with different states and Union territories.

The lion’s share of the list goes to Uttar Pradesh whose 13 cities have been included in the smart city initiative. 12 cities of Tamil Nadu, 10 cities of Maharashtra, 6 cities of Gujarat and Karnataka each has been included in the initiative, according to a report in Economic Times.

The States and the Union Territories finalized the list of cities from their region that they wanted to develop into smart-cities. The selection marks the end of first stage of the “City Challenge” competition wherein various local urban bodies were evaluated on various parameters like past track record, financial abilities, institutional capabilities etc.

Based on these evaluation, around 65 small and medium towns and cities have been included in the list whereas many important cities like Bengaluru, Patna, Kolkata, Noida and Gurgaon did not make it. Two more cities are yet to be added to the list one from Jammu and Kashmir and the last of the 13 cities from UP.

The next challenge for the selected cities is to create city-level smart city plans that will be evaluated and 20 high scoring cities will be selected for funding during this financial year.

The smart-city features include “centralized public information system, grievance redressal mechanism, proper conversion of waste into energy, fuel, and compost, renewable source of energy, efficient energy and green building, smart parking and intelligent traffic management system,” according to ET report.

The Center plans to allocate 200 crore rupees during first year and 100 crore rupees during subsequent three years for each of the selected cities. The total cost for developing 100 smart cities is expected to be 48,000 crore rupees.

The project will open up many investment opportunities for both the domestic and the foreign investors.

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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)

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