France formalised an agreement to provide technical and financial assistance for developing Puducherry, a union territory of India, as a smart city.
Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD), the French bilateral development finance agency, has inked agreements to develop Puducherry, along with Chandigarh and Nagpur as smart cities.
The draft agreements signed between representatives of AFD and the three cities were formalised in the presence of visiting French President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Chandigarh on Sunday.
“The AFD agreement is independent of, but not completely unrelated to, the Smart City Mission of the Government of India for which Oulgaret Municipality is a contender,” said Manoj Parida, Chief Secretary, who was in Chandigarh to sign the draft deal with AFD representatives.
The deal is an offshoot of the Indo-French bilateral cooperation agreement on sustainable urban development firmed up on October 5, 2012 and also the understanding reached during Mr. Modi’s visit to France in April, 2015 that French authorities would concentrate on Puducherry, Nagpur and Chandigarh.
What the AFD pact does is to provide Puducherry a fall back cushion to realise its smart city aspirations even should Oulgaret Municipality which is currently competing among other shortlisted cities for inclusion in the Smart City Mission miss the bus.
French pool of experts
Under the MoU for a period of three years, the technical cooperation programme will make available to the Puducherry a pool of French experts from the public sector (French municipalities, local public companies, agencies for urban planning), complemented by experts from private sector.