THE BJP-led Maharashtra government has decided to introduce its own smart cities scheme, mirroring the Union government’s initiative.
The state’s scheme, which is being worked out by the urban development department led by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, plans to cater to several urban sprawls in Maharashtra that had evinced interest in turning into smart cities under the Union government scheme but could not make the final cut.
There were about 35 cities that had applied for funding under the smart cities project to upgrade infrastructure and bring in information and communication technology to improve delivery of services. However, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of creating 100 smart cities, the Maharashtra government could shortlist only 10. A committee headed by the chief secretary has picked Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan-Dombivli, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Nashik, Amravati, Solapur, Nagpur and Aurangabad, leaving out several smaller cities and towns. These cities will now have to make presentations before the Union government to qualify for the final round.
Manisha Mhaiskar, Principal Secretary, Urban Development, said, “A lot more urban bodies had aspirations of being smart cities. So we have decided to have our own scheme. We have discussed this with the chief minister and even the finance department. We are currently working out the modalities and will put up a formal proposal before the Cabinet soon.”
Mhaiskar, however, said the government was yet to decide on the number of cities that the state would support under its scheme and the funding modalities.
Under the Centre’s scheme, the government has decided to develop 100 cities across the country over five years and set aside Rs 48,000 crore for the project.
Every city will be given Rs 100 crore annually with the state government and the urban local body expected to together pitch in a matching amount.
“For the state scheme, we are still working out these details and also the fund-sharing pattern between the government and the urban local bodies. We may not restrict it to just the cities that were left out of the Centre’s scheme and could extend it to more towns,” Mhaiskar said.
The state’s scheme would be more or less modelled on the Central government’s scheme with the urban local bodies having to freeze their priorities in infrastructure enhancement such as water supply, solid waste management, roads and so on through public consensus, and present a vision to the government, she added.