Associate Professor of Department of Chemistry, American University of Beirut, Digambara Patra on Saturday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to include Bhawanipatna, Balangir and Jeypore in the Smart City scheme.
In a letter to the PM, Patra apprised that the State Government also proposed to include the three cities in the scheme. “We are hopeful that the Centre will be kind to consider the State’s proposal to include the three towns even though the population of each of these towns is less than 200,000,” he said.
He noted that population of towns/cities in hilly regions of the country, including those of Himachal Pradesh and north-eastern States, is always low. The KBK region is considered like a hilly region.
Creation of new smart cities across Odisha would help it achieve all-round development, he stated.
He mentioned that while development in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Puri and Khurdha has been phenomenal, Rourkela, Sambalpur and Angul are emerging as industrial cities.
However, the KBK region located far away from the State capital and the Sambalpur-Rourkela region are lagging behind although they have a great potential for development based on bauxites mining, tourism and agriculture. Kalahandi has emerged among the top 25 rice-producing districts in the country, he apprised the Prime Minister.
If Bhawanipatna, the district headquarters town of Kalahandi and located centrally in the KBK region, is developed as a smart city, it would impact a large part of socially backward and mineral rich portion of the State. It would also bring economic growth and social development to the neighbouring Chhattisgarh State, he asserted.
He further brought it to the notice of the Prime Minister that a local train and inter-city link among Balangir, Bhawanipatna and Jeypore would certainly trigger development in the KBK region.