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Featured Image: A file photo of Venkaiah Naidu speaking at the first smart cities workshop in New Delhi last week. 

By A Newsman

Kolkata, 12 September: UNION urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday said that people should be ready to pay extra tax in lieu of better and assured amenities such as 24-hour electricity, drinking water etc.

He also said that although four towns in Bengal have found place in the list of smart cities, Bengal shall have to compete with other states to get funding for the projects in the first phase this year.

Mr Naidu made the remarks while addressing a regional workshop on smart city for 13 states in the eastern and north-eastern states held at New Town in Kolkata Saturday morning.

But the Bengal urban development minister Firhad Hakim who was present at the event and later spoke to the reporters, has rejected the idea of levying extra tax.

“We are already providing 24-hour power to several parts of Bengal and the plan is to cover the entire state in the near future. But we will not levy any additional taxes on people for providing power and water,” he said.

In his speech, Mr Naidu said that while the governments were trying to offer modern amenities such as round-the-clock-power, drinking water, guaranteed public transport and wifi connectivity etc, people should be willing to pay additional taxes for all these.

“We will enjoy all these facilities but would not pay any extra tax cannot be the way. People need to pay to make these services sustainable in the long run for their own benefit,” the Union minister said.

The regional workshop today was meant for West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Tripura.