Even as Chief Minister Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday announced the names of 10 cities selected for development as smart cities, it has caused much consternation and confusion among officials of the Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal corporations.
While civic officials believe that the state government has “goofed up” in selecting Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, the government on Saturday clarified that both
the cities would be developed as one
On Friday, Fadnavis announced in the state Assembly that the state cabinet had given its approval for implementation of smart cities projects. He announced the names of Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali, Navi Mumbai, Pune-Pimpri-Chinchwad, Nashik, Nagpur, Amravati, Solapur and Aurangabad. While making the announcement, the chief minister counted Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad as one city, though both have different municipal corporations and had made separate presentations for the smart city projects.
When contacted, Pune municipal commissioner Kunal Kumar conceded that there was confusion over the announcement of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad as one city for the project. “We have sought clarification from the government over this,” he said. Kumar added that he didn’t know what was going to happen. “If Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad are counted as one, there will certainly be confusion over fund allocation. We are waiting for the government to clarify,” he said.
Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Commissioner Rajeev Jadhav said they received a government letter which declared that Pimpri-Chinchwad would be developed as a smart city. “All that we know is that Pimpri-Chinchwad will be developed as a smart city. As for Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad being considered as one city, I am sure the Centre and state government will work out a strategy. A similar confusion had also surfaced during JNNURM, but it was sorted out later,” he said.
When asked if the chief minister’s announcement was final, Jadhav said the booklet of the Centre stated that the selection of the cities would be the prerogative of the state government. “Which means the selection of cities has been done and now the further process will be done by the Centre,” he said.
The state government, meanwhile, denied that there was any “goof up” in selecting the names and said Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad would be developed as one agglomeration. “We will developed Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad as one city. Whether it is laying optical fibre or installing software, they would be similar for both the cities,” said Praveen Pardeshi, principal secretary to the chief minister.
Under the smart city plan, the Union government will provide Rs 48,000 crore. Every city will get Rs 100 crore per year, the same amount is to be raised together by the local bodies and the state governments.
This has created further confusion in PMC and PCMC as to whether they would have to share Rs 100 crore. The state government, however, said funds would not be a problem. “Since we are developing both cities as one agglomeration, funds would certainly not be a problem.”