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NEW DELHI : The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry has extended the timeline for the implementation of Smart Cities Mission to June 2023 due to the Covid pandemic and other reasons, a senior official said on Thursday.

According to an earlier deadline, the cities were expected to complete their projects within five years of being selected under the Smart Cities Mission.

The official said all the 100 smart cities selected under the mission will now have to complete their projects by June 2023.

Hundred smart cities had been selected through four rounds of competition from January 2016 to June 2018. The ministry had launched the Smart Cities Mission on 25 June 2015.

"The timeline for the implementation of Smart Cities Mission has been extended to June 2023 due to COVID pandemic and other reasons. Cities that have been selected in 2016 or 2018 will have to complete their projects under the mission by June 2023," the official told PTI.

In the past, the government has come under criticism from the opposition over the implementation of the smart cities mission, one of the flagship programmes of the BJP government.

According to the ministry, the objective of the Smart Cities Mission is to promote cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to their citizens and a clean and sustainable environment through the application of smart solutions.

Recently, the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry had said that as of November 12, 2021, these Smart Cities have tendered out 6,452 projects worth 1,84,998 crore. Out of these, work orders have been issued in 5,809 projects worth 1,56,571 crore and 3,131 of those projects worth 53,175 crore have been completed, it said.

Till the same period, the Central government has released 27,235 crore to states and Union territories for their smart cities.

In a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on Thursday, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Kaushal Kishore said the period of implementation of the Smart Cities Mission has been extended up to June 2023.

Asked whether more cities are being considered under the mission in Gujarat, the minister said that presently, there is no such proposal under consideration of the Central government.

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