French Ambassador leads delegation to Nagpur, meets Maha CM
Ambassador of France to India, Mr François Richier led a high-level French delegation from Smart Cities sector to Nagpur and met Shri Devendra Fadnavis, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
Nagpur, 16-17 December 2015
H.E. Mr François Richier, Ambassador of France to India, along with Mr SPS Bakshi, CMD, Engineering Projects India Ltd. (EPI), paid a two-day visit to Nagpur, on 16th - 17th December 2015.
Ambassador Richier led a high-profile delegation of 14 members, including heads of top French companies active in the smart cities and urban development sectors, who presented their expertise in their respective areas. The French companies participating in this prominent visit, which aimed to expand the scope of Indo-French cooperation in this sector, included Alstom Transport, Dassault Systèmes, Egis, Lumiplan, RATP Transdev, and Schneider Electric.
During this visit, Ambassador Richier called on Shri Devendra Fadnavis, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, who has evinced personal interest in the smart cities programme, Mr Munnabhau Pokulwar, Deputy Mayor of Nagpur, and Mr Shravan Hardikar, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation of Nagpur, who has been entrusted with interactions regarding this matter.
This visit was a follow-up of earlier meetings between Ambassador Richier and these dignitaries. The French Consul General in Mumbai also visited Nagpur in 2014 to explore cooperation prospects.
It may be recalled that during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France in April 2015, Indo-French cooperation on urban development was reaffirmed and extended to include India’s “Smart Cities Mission”.
The French government’s willingness to participate in the transformation of the three cities of Puducherry, Nagpur and Chandigarh into smart cities was also discussed, with French President François Hollande declaring a line of credit of 2 billion euros through AFD to finance the smart cities projects. AFD (Agence française de Développement – French Development Agency), a French government financial institution that provides lines of credit to public financial establishments around the world, is thus studying the possibility of providing financing for the Nagpur Metro project.
Honouring the commitment made at the highest level between France and India, French delegations specialising in urban development recently visited the cities of Puducherry (10 September 2015) and Chandigarh (12 October 2015). These delegations, organized by the Regional Economic Service (SER) of the Embassy of France in India, were led by Ambassador François Richier and comprised officials from the French Development Agency (AFD), and top representatives of the French companies offering specialised technologies in the urban development sector.
Discussions were held with senior officials from the respective state governments and local authorities about their urban development plans, the implementation of the Smart City Mission and the expertise that could be offered by the French companies in this regard. At the request of the Chandigarh authorities, a follow-up technical workshop on Chandigarh’s Smart City proposal was organised with French experts on 26 November 2015 in Chandigarh, with focus on public transport, e-governance and urban safety.
To facilitate greater Indo-French exchange on the subject of Smart Cities, a daylong Indo-French seminar, “Towards Smart and Sustainable Cities”, was organised in New Delhi on 4th November 2015 as a collaborative effort of the Embassy of France in India and the Indian Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD).