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Sikkim: Gangtok hosts Symposium on Smart City Revolution

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Gangtok: On Saturday, The Planning & Development Department, Urban Development Department, Government of Sikkim, and Gangtok Smart City Development Limited, in collaboration with the Union Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DONER), Government of India, hosted a symposium on “Urban Development in North Eastern States: Smart City Revolutions” in the state capital as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav: North East Festival, which runs from April 28 to May 4.

Union minister of Housing & Urban Affairs and Petroleum & Natural Gas, Hardeep Singh Puri graced the occasion as chief guest accompanied by State Urban Development minister Arun Kumar Upreti as the guest of honour.

Reiterating the Union Government’s commitment for continuous increased efforts on all-round development of the North-Eastern States, Hardeep Singh Puri said in the event  that “Recognising that some additional support is needed for the Smart Cities to complete certain projects, including in Sikkim. I am happy to announce today that we have agreed to amend the funding pattern and raise it to 90:10, thus ensuring that many projects in the region will reach completion”.

The minister  also launched the Online Building Permission System (OBPS) of Government of Sikkim at this event and praised the State Government and Gangtok Municipal Corporation for being the first State to implement OBPS in the region. Attending the programme as chief guest, Shri Puri expressed satisfaction that all the seven urban local bodies in Sikkim have achieved ODF status under the Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban.

It may be mentioned that the Prime Minister himself has visited the NE region more than 30 times, Shri Puri said that in the important sectors of power, water supply, health, connectivity and education related development projects, more than 95% of Rs 18849 crores that were budgeted for development of the region have been fully utilised during the last eight years. The past five years especially, underpinned by the ‘Look and Act East Policy’, have been transformational for the North-East Region, he added.

Minister Puri praised the effective completion of Smart City projects worth Rs 2474 crores in Gangtok and Namchi, and promised that his Ministry will assist the Sikkim government with any future initiatives. He went on to say that a new scheme called Prime Minister’s Development Initiatives for North-East (PM-DevINE), which was announced by the Finance Minister in the Union Budget with an initial allocation of Rs 1500 crores, will fund infrastructure and social development projects in the North-East, guided by the PM Gati Shakti Mission. Shri Puri noted that the South Asian Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) road connection scheme will help to connect and connect the region to the rest of the country.

At the Smart Cities Mission, 523 projects totaling Rs 13563 crores are across various phases of development in the 10 cities of the Northeast Region, according to Shri Puri. A total of 121 projects worth Rs 1553 crores have been completed, with 268 projects worth Rs 8507 crores still in the works.

The immense potential of this region has now been awakened by establishing this robust infrastructure and services over the last eight years. Shri Puri noted that the North-potential East’s to be a trading link between India and Southeast Asia has developed as the number of food parks, textile industries, and information technology has increased.

Senior professors from IIT Kharagpur, Prof. Subroto Chattopadhyay, Prof. Haimanti Banerjee, and Prof. Arkapal Goswami, led a technical session during the occasion.

Earlier, M.T. Sherpa, secretary of the Department of Urban Development, gave the welcome address. Dipankar Lama, Nodal Officer, Smart City, proposed the vote of thanks.

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