PANAJI: The central government's plan to create 100 smart cities in the country appears to be nothing more than a figment of imagination and instead the government should consider developing smart villages, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee member and Rajya Sabha member of Parliament Shantaram Naik said at a press conference in Panaji on Thursday.
Naik also pointed out that the concept of 'Make in India' was confusing given that no policy document or draft legislation had been released by the government. "The government has not finalized the list of cities which are going to be developed as smart cities nor does it have a concrete road map of foreign direct investment or any legislation in the pipeline for the purpose," said Naik.
He added that to develop one smart city, the government would require at least 10,000 crore and foreign funding would be required, but till date no country appears to have shown interest in investing in smart cities.
Besides political leaders, the BJP-led government's smart city concept has drawn flak from urban planners and international architects as well.
American architect and planner, Christopher Charles Benninger, while speaking at the Z-axis conference held in Panaji recently, had decried the idea of smart cities, going so far as to venture that smart cities could not be made out of "dumb public servants and stupid institutional mechanisms".
"Smart cities, in their proposed form, pose the danger of ignoring the fundamental transformations that have been avoided by our leadership for decades," Benninger had said.
Given that the concept of smart cities was created by IT companies, the use of technology-driven services is disconcerting as IT companies stand to gain by the extensive use of data centres and data collection hardware required to build smart cities, architect-urbanist Henrik Valeur had pointed out earlier.
"The secretary of commerce had no idea what is 'Make in India' or the policy for 'Make in India'," Naik claimed.