Six months after Pune and Solapur made it to the list of the first 20 cities to receive funding under the Smart Cities mission, the state government has sent revised proposals of eight other cities from Maharashtra, that couldn’t make the cut earlier, for reconsideration in the second round.
The chief minister-led high power committee sent the revised proposals of the eight cities, including Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, on Thursday, the final day for submissions for the second round, after incorporating minor changes suggested by the Union urban development ministry.
Municipal corporations of both Mumbai and Navi Mumbai had faced stiff opposition from a section of corporators over their respective smart city proposals, before submitting them to the Centre for the first round, last year.
Lack of political will was considered the main reason for both the cities failing to feature among the top 20 cities. Earlier, the Navi Mumbai civic body had resolved to not send a proposal. However, the state government had suspended that resolution.
On the other hand, the Shiv Sena corporators from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had included a list of 14 amendments in Mumbai’s proposal to ensure that the civic body and its political class retained control over all aspects of the smart city projects.
A senior official from the state urban development department said, “We have Mumbai’s proposal for consideration in the second round, stating that the BMC’s general body had cleared the proposal and suggested some amendments. We can take a look at what to do about the amendments, suggested at the time of forming a special purpose vehicle to execute the projects, if the Centre finds Mumbai’s proposal good enough to be chosen.” Besides Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, the state government has sent proposals of Nagpur, Amravati, Nashik, Aurangabad, Thane and Kalyan-Dombivli.
At least six months ago, the Union government had held a competitive process to select the first 20 cities to receive funding under its Smart Cities mission – Rs 500 crore over five years – out of 97 cities across India that had submitted proposals. Besides, the state governments and the local bodies are supposed to contribute Rs 250 crore each over five years.
While Pune and Solapur were the only two cities chosen in the first round, the state government has decided to begin implementation of projects of the other eight cities, as well, with share of funds planned to be released from its side.