The Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Parliamentary Affairs, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, visited the Town Hall of Barcelona today at the invitation of Mr. Xavier Trias, the Mayor of Barcelona, Spain.
In a meeting with the Mayor and Deputy MayorAntoniVives, the Minister referred to his ongoing visit to Barcelona on the occasion of the Smart City Expo World Congress. The Deputy Mayor said that the Ministers speech at the inaugural had been stunning and had left a deep impression amongst the delegates about the scale of the challenges facing India and the commitment of the Government of India to transform the urban landscape in India. The Minister said that participation in the event had been a valuable experience for the Indian delegation. He also congratulated the Mayor for his leadership of Barcelona, which had led to its being regarded as a leading smart city of the world.
The Minister also spoke in detail about the governments priorities regarding urban development and reconstruction, the proposal to develop 100 smart cities, redevelop 500 existing cities and also preserve Indias heritage cities. He noted that there was a lot to be learnt from Barcelonain this regard and that he would welcome the prospect of a technical collaboration with the authorities of Barcelona for this purpose. The Mayor indicated that Barcelona Regional, the Urban Development Agency for Barcelona would be happy to cooperate in this regard. The Agency was responsible for technical and economic feasibility studies and surveys and for the management and implementation of infrastructure projects.It was currently examining proposals for developing a joint venture with Indian companies for this purpose. The Minister said that the joint venture could participate in development projects through transparent and competitive bidding processes. He also said that Barcelona Regional couldxamine the possibility of cooperating directly with an agency such as the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC). The Mayor agreed to develop a technical collaboration proposal in this regard and forward it through the Indian Embassy in Madrid for examination by the concerned Indian authorities.
The Minister also referred to the strong economic and commercial relations between India and Spain, particularly between Indian companies and those based in the Catalonia region. He underlined the renewed focus in India on economic reform under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which was creating new opportunities for economic growth and development. In this context, the Minister recalled his meeting the previous day with a delegation of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce led by its First Vice Chairman, Mr. Josep Manuel Basanez, during which he had invited the Chamber to lead a business delegation to India to examine specific opportunities that might be available for its members in India.
The Minister and the Mayor also discussed issues relating to the large, growing and dynamic Indian community in Barcelona and their contribution to the regions economic life. In this context, the Minister referred to need of the community for a temple and requested the Mayor to kindly consider granting them a piece of land for its building. Both the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor responded positively to this request and said that they would address this request very soon.
The Minister invited the Mayor to visit India at his earliest convenience to carry forward the ongoing discussions on cooperation in all mutually beneficial areas. The Mayor said that he looked forward to doing so.
Source: Business Standard
Dated: 20th November 2014