Puducherry: The French government was interested in cooperating with Puducherry administration for infrastructural development and academic programmes, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on Tuesday said.
Talking to reporters after holding discussions with the Ambassador designate to France in Indaia Alexandre Ziegler, Narayanasamy said he had highlighted various sectors where collaborative initiatives between France and Puducherry government could be taken.
The French connection that Puducherry has was of help for strengthening the bonds with France, he said adding France was keenly interested in promoting developmental activities.
A proposal to set up smart city in Puducherry was already discussed with the Centre and this would be a specific area where French help might be available, he said.
Already the Union Territory Administration has decided to integrate Oulgaret and Puducherry municipalities so that the smart city project could be effectively implemented here.
"We have also sought the cooperation of France in this significant project. We would soon prepare a detailed project report which would be forwarded to the Centre for its nod", he said.
Narayanasamy said during his recent visit to New Delhi he had requested Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu to bring Puducherry under smart city programme.
He said that the French Ambassador designate had also expressed interest in promoting academic activities by propagating French language among school children in Puducherry.
The French financial institution-Agence Francaise de Developpement-had already expressed its readiness to provide Rs 2100 crore for Puducherry to augment drinking water supply round the clock, promote sanitation programmes and other infrastructures.
This amount would be released to the Centre as loan and the Central government would make it available to Puducherry as grants, he said.
"Necessary agreement would be inked soon between France and the Centre to implement the project", he said.
External Affairs Minister of France would visit Puducherry in August for discussions with the Puducherry government on framing of various developmental programmes for Puducherry in collaboration with France.