Less than two months after the US expressed interest to develop Vizag as a smart city, senior officials from the state held discussions with representatives of the US industry and officials of the US embassy, providing them a glimpse of the opportunities available in the city.
The discussions were held at the smart cities conclave in New Delhi on Saturday by the US India Business Council, which is a premier business advocacy organisation representing America's top companies investing in India.
A senior AP government official said, "During the discussion with various US industry representatives, we expressed the scenario in Vizag related to existing infrastructure in the port city. We had interactions with people from companies such as IBM, which has played a part in developing more than 500 cities across the globe, and other IT companies such as Microsoft."
Confirming to TOI, municipal administration and urban development minister P Narayana said "The central government has expressed interest in making Vizag a smart city and this meeting is a step in that direction. Our officials participated in the meeting and we informed the industry delegates about the expectations from our side in order to make Vizag a smart city."
He said AP government presented infrastructural issues and what is expected in order to improve the facilities in the city. He said, "This is the first meeting that we have had with US industry and we have given them data pertaining to the city. We will decide in the coming days on further meetings and how to take the plan forward."
Elaborating that basic amenities are crucial to make a city smart, he said, "As of now we have water supply in Vizag for two hours, but we need 24x7 water supply in the future. At the same time, we need around-the-clock electricity and also provision of 100% toilets in slum areas as well as technologies for solid waste management."
With US president Barack Obama expected to visit India in January next year, a senior IT industry executive said, "The focus should be now on taking the initiative forward during the US president's visit. Last time around Chandrababu Naidu had put Hyderabad on the global map by getting then US president Bill Clinton to visit the city. While getting him to Vizag may be difficult, the state government can definitely hold discussions with the US delegation, which can give a boost to investments."
Pointing out that the state government should aim for increasing collaborations in various sectors, retired diplomat Amit Dasgupta said the aim of the government should be to attract foreign investment in building standards in sectors such as fisheries, agriculture and hi-tech among others.
Source: The Times of India
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