Urban local bodies should not depend on govts: Union minister

Urban local bodies and other local government agencies should not depend on aid from state and central government and learn to become self-reliant, Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said.

At a seminar on 'Smart Urban Planning for 21st Century: Challenges and Choices', Puri said no other state and central governments in the world gives as much aid to government local agencies as they do in India.

"Cities like Hyderabad and Pune are mobilising resources through bonds. Other cities should explore such options," he said.

He suggested that the development work in Bengaluru can be funded by increasing property tax, enforcing solid waste management rules and similar steps.

"The best liveable cities have fewer vehicles with people giving more importance to walking and cycling. We should implement such system," he said.

Thumbs up to Karnataka govt

Earlier, after reviewing the progress of central government scheme, the minister appreciated the government's performance in implementing the Centre's flagship initiatives, including Swachch Bharat, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (PMAY) and Amrut.

He said under PMAY, Rs 8,797 crore has been released for building 1.95 lakh houses for the poor. About 17,664 such houses have already been built.

"Davangere, Mangaluru, Tumakuru, Shivamogga, Hubballi and Bengaluru are being developed under the smart city programme. About 108 programmes costing Rs 4,745 crore are at various stage of development," he said.

Replying to questions about the slow pace of bus rapid transport system in Hubli-Dharwad, he said officials have told him that the project would be completed by March 2018. "I will see if they have given wrong information. The World Bank is funding Rs 1,014 crore for the project. Timely utilisation of the money is important," he said.

DH News Service

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