Six cities in Maharashtra vying for the Smart City tag will get a development boost, thanks to the state government, which has decided not to wait for Central funds and kick-start the mission on its own. Each city will get Rs100 crore each. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (Cidco) will fund two and four cities respectively.
Though the state government has shortlisted 10 of its leading cities to be pitched for the Centre’s ambitious mission, only two – Pune and Solapur — have found place in the first round of 20 cities in the country. Although the remaining are likely to be selected in the subsequent rounds, the state has decided to not wait for the Centre’s nod.
“Besides the two picked by the Centre, we have Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Nashik, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Thane, Nagpur, Amravati, Solapur, Kalyan-Dombivli and Aurangabad to compete for the project. As Mumbai and Navi Mumbai are in good financial health, the government has decided to fund the remaining six cities to kick-start the mission. By the time the cities are hand-picked by the Centre, the six cities will be in a position to take the development even further,” said an official from the Urban Development Department.
“The six cities to be funded by two urban planning authorities will get 50% of the funds soon after the special purpose vehicles are formed. The funding from MMRDA and Cidco will prove to be a major boost for the cities to start the mission from the current financial year,” said Manisha Mhaiskar, secretary, UDD.
Ten cities from the state have collectively submitted detailed project reports worth Rs32,000 crore, while some of the aspirant cities have revised their reports of late. The Smart City mission to be undertaken by the cities will implement infrastructure development works based on the area of development or with the Pan City approach. The cities have pitched projects for water supply, waste management, BRTS and transportation to be undertaken under the mission. Pune has decided to focus on the development of Aundh, Baner and Balewadi, while Solapur has focused on infrastructure in the old part of the city, covering around 60% of the population. With the help of private funding, Pune plans to spend Rs3,000 crore and Solapur Rs2,000 crore on the project.
The government has appointed 10 senior bureaucrats to head the Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) of the 10 cities that have either been selected or are in the race. The cities get Rs100 crore a year from the Centre.