Smart Cities of Maharashtra

Out of the 100 smart cities across the country, Maharashtra accounts for seven. Pune and Solapur were selected in the first round while in the second round Thane, Nashik, Nagpur and Aurangabad were selected and in round three, Pimpri-Chinchwad found place.
Under the Smart city mission, the cities take up area specific development like betterment of roads, rejuvenation of water bodies, cycle tracks, walking paths, smart classrooms, skill development centers, upgradation of health facilities, and pan-city projects like integrated command and control center are also taken up.
Let’s first look at the cities of Pune and Solapur whose names figured in the list of Smart cities first along with 18 others across the country that were announced in January 2016. In terms of utilisation of money that has been allocated to them for the construction of smart city, Pune is 11th and Solapur is 15th. While Pune has utilised approximately 42.50 per cent of the amount allotted to it, Solapur has utilised only 14.20 per cent till 2018 end. Both these cities, Pune and Solapur should have received 400 crore in the last four years from the Central government for implementing the projects but have received only 196 crores in the first two years and nothing thereafter. The Pune smart city project has a website while Solapur is yet to create one. In Pune more than 35 lakh inputs were received from the citizens across the city that gave direction to the project managers on what is it that the people expected. However, in spite of spending 83.21 crore of the 196 crores allotted to Pune, most of its projects according to its own website are “Current Status – The project is under concept development stage”; be it the idea of E-buses or Airport Express Service. Under the smart street lighting project approximately 57000 LED lights have been installed along with more than 300 SCADA based panels and a few such other projects have been executed. It’s a similar situation in Solapur as well where under this project, Solapur City Development Corporation Limited (SCDCL) was set up which installed LED street lights, e-toilets for approximately five lakh pilgrims visiting the Siddheshwar temple and took up a dozen more such projects and a few other small projects. However, no major infrastructure project was undertaken in Solapur. The Solapur Municipal Commissioner believes that with these small projects they have been able to bring in big changes in the lives of citizens. Sewage, water system and over 100-crore road projects are pending but the administration says that they were delayed as tenders put out by the administration did not elicit good response. However the administration promises to speed up the work now.
Thane smart city project has drawn up projects worth 5404 under the smart city project. The name given to the Special Purpose Vehicle is ‘Thane Smart City Limited’ (TSCL).The first board meeting of the TSCL was convened within 30 days of incorporation of the SPV, i.e. on Thursday the November 17, 2016. Following which, the second meeting of the board of directors of TSCL was held on Friday the March 17, 2017. Under the Smart City programme a public-private partnership, the city launched the “ilovecycling” project in August 2017 and a few other projects like the installation of wi-fi gained momentum but other projects like the construction of promenades, jogging tracks, walkways, playgrounds, cycle tracks, food courts and gymnasium on water fronts were halted last year due to petitions being filed against the irregularities involved. However in Thane, like other cities there have been many tenders that have been put out. In Nashik, tenders for LED lightings to be installed under area based development along with other projects like the development of bicycle stands or the development of Nehru Garden, waste management etc. have been issued. Tenders for a few projects were issued; however beyond that the major projects that are being taken up by the authorities are facing much resistance from the people. After farmers from Makhmalabad protested against the survey of greenfield projects under Smart City Mission in Panchavati area, the local corporator has asked for cancellation of the project. A total of 754 acres in Makhmalabad and Nashik areas would be developed under the town planning scheme as per the development plan. Building of a 1.1 kilometer long road as a pilot project was started in the heart of the city in June 2018, and the first phase of this will get completed this month. During this work, the co-ordination between different authorities which should have been in place before the project started was absent. This left many people troubled because during digging, the underground electricity cables were damaged. This Smart Road includes one-metre wide cycle tracks on both sides, installation of CCTVs, benches for people, etc. Seven locations across Nashik have been selected for kicking off the first phase of smart parking zones. The authorities have planned to start it in January-end. Six of these locations are on-road parking while one is off-road parking but the problem ahead is that there are illegal shanties in these places so it certainly will not be easy for the authorities. Nagpur is the home town of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union Minister for Water Resources, Road Transport and Shipping, Nitin Gadkari. Thus this is one city which has been steering right ahead in the Smart City project. Both these BJP leaders are set to perform bhoomipuja for a smart city project in February beginning. Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) had decided to convert an area of 1,743 acres of Pardi, Bharatwada, Bhandewali and Punapur in East Nagpur into Smart City. NMC’s SPV – Nagpur Smart and Sustainable City Development Corporation Limited (NSSCDCL) is executing this project. Apart from this, 3000 affordable housing units for the project affected and the poor has also been planned and work on this is slated to begin soon. Nagpur promises to be 20 times greener when it is smart. Aurangabad is slated to be developed much like Nagpur. It is another city run by the BJP – Shiv Sena alliance. Works on smart roads have been prioritised here and there have been many claims that Aurangabad Smart City Development Corporation Limited (ASCDC) has started a large number of works. However activists here decry tall claims and say that the SPV has missed almost all deadlines that had been set for its many projects. Of the 196 crores sanctioned under smart city projects, Aurangabad is lagging behind in its usage. Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation near Pune is the newest entrant in the Smart City project in Maharashtra; however it has tendered out many works and has awarded many. And like others, it too started with projects like the implementation of smart elements such as Wi-Fi, smart kiosks and variable message displays across the city. A pilot project of e-classrooms is planned while construction of smart roads in Pimple Saudagar and Pimple Gurav will commence from March this year. The roads will comprise pedestrian pathways, bicycle paths, storm water drainage lines, road markings, LED street lights, traffic signals, smart toilets, street furniture, street landscaping and beautification works. The project will continue for 24 months and the estimated cost is 364 crore among other plans.
In 2015, Maharashtra government had selected Mumbai to be part of this bouquet of smart cities. However the city where people land up with a million dreams from across the country was unceremoniously dropped because of some differences between the alliance partners Shiv Sena which has control over the city since long, and the BJP.
On the other hand cities like Amravati, have spent huge amounts trying to make detailed project report (DPR) so that they could be selected for the smart city project but have not made it to the list of top 100.

1 Comment
  1. Please let us know the details of progress made so far for all cities in maharashtra as on date .I mean when these cities will be declared as SMART city and what will be their infrastructure

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