VARANASI: In order to ensure public participation in developing Varanasi as a 'Smart City', Varanasi Municipal Corporation (VMC) has started reaching out to academic institutions and local residents to make them aware of the facilities available at present and suggestions for making the city smart. Essay competition in school, colleges and universities began on Friday and will continue till May 20 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's parliamentary constituency, which was selected in the top 100 cities to be developed under Smart City scheme of Central government, failed to figure among the country's top 20 Smart Cities. 

As a part of the outreach programme, VMC is organizing essay competitions in school, colleges as well as universities which began on Friday. The competitions will continue till May 20 and people will also be asked to give suggestions on components that are a part of the smart city project. 

Additional municipal commissioner B K Dwivedi said that public participation is key to success of smart city and role of citizens is crucial. "We have invited ideas and concepts by launching Smart City contest earlier but this time we are also organizing essay competition centered around 'Smart City' theme in schools and colleges, hoping they would come up with innovative ideas. Besides, efforts will also be made to reach out to people so that we can incorporate good concepts in the detailed project report." 

'How do you see your city five years from now' or 'what are top three challenges that your city faces currently', are some of the points that the students should cover in the essays.