Source: Times of India

When the government announced plans to make 100 smart cities in the country, France smelt a business opportunity in it. This European country plans to offer its expertise in urban development to build the new age cities.

A team of officials led by French Counsel General Jean Raphael Peytregnet, is on a two-day visit to Nagpur, and will also be holding talks with the mayor. Peytregnet told reporters that the basic object is to explore the possibility of cooperation in urban development. Since each city may have a different requirement, there is nothing specific in mind, though a tailor-made solution can be offered, he said.

Peytregnet said that New Delhi will also host a convention of architects in November this year. Apart from exploring options in Mumbai and the national capital, they will also be urged to visit other cities. “There is immense scope for developing modern infrastructure in India. We will be calling on officials of various municipalities across the country to look for tie-ups, including the meeting with the Nagpur mayor on Friday,” he said.

Each French city has been designed individually, with great planning and symmetry. This expertise can be used in India, added Mathieu Lefort, the trade commissioner. The team also visited Vidarbha Industries Association (VIA) and Mihan.

Lefort said there is a focus on sectors like consumer goods, agriculture, automobiles, avionics and also tourism. The current investment by French companies in India stands at 15 billion Euros as against the Indian investment in France at only 300 million Euros. The French government is keen to increase the figure by promoting Indian business proposals.

In July, the French government had announced plans to put in place a billion Euro line of credit to be used in India for urban development and heritage conservation. A decision from the Indian side is awaited on this.