The Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government admitted that it would not be easy to make Shillong a smart city considering financial crunch that the state is facing.
In his reply during question hour in Assembly on Monday, chief minister Conrad K Sangma said there are challenges but that does not mean the government would not make Shillong a smart city.
“We have to do whatever it takes to ensure that Shillong becomes one of the smart cities in the country. That is what our government wants to do and this challenge has been taken up,” Conrad told the House.
Stating that the funding pattern of 50:50 ratio has been made uniform as per guidelines of the centre, Conrad said that the centre could not also say directly that it would give special consideration for the Northeast.
“In that kind of ambiguity, the state has to decide whether to lose the smart city or take up the challenge,” he said.
Stating that funding pattern is an issue, Conrad informed that many smart cities in the country today could not also fulfill the funding pattern of 50:50 ratio.
“The centre has given us a very positive indication that they would support us in different ways. But it would be incorrect for me to express much as there are certain confidential matters which I would not like to share right now,” Conrad said while informing about the possibilities of implementing smart city projects under PPP mode along with different kinds of funding.
However leader of Opposition, Mukul Sangma sought to know under which provisions of the rules and procedures of conduct of business that the chief minister cannot share information because of “certain confidentiality.”
“What secrecy that cannot be revealed before this House? Is it the tendency of the government to withhold information,” Mukul asked.
On this, Conrad clarified that he did not mean confidentiality but it is his duty not to mislead the House until and unless he was sure from the centre (about financial assistance).
Earlier, urban affairs minister, Hamletson Dohling while replying to a query from Congress MLA, P T Sawkmie, informed that a special purpose vehicle would be constituted most probably by the second week of October, before starting the implementation of smart city.
Dohling said that after a meeting with union urban development minister, Hardeep Singh Puri recently in New Delhi, the state was waiting for a final communication from the centre on the funding pattern.
He said that the state has urged the centre to give special consideration and the finance ministry has also mentioned in its circular that states in the Northeast are under “special consideration.”
Dohling said that the total project cost for smart city was Rs 1,039 Cr.