Ten major cities in Maharashtra, including Mumbai, have submitted their estimated proposals worth Rs 29,647.45 crore for the Central government-funded ‘Smart City’ project.
However, the Mumbai proposal estimate of just Rs 1,118 crore is the lowest among all the ten cities.
The Thane Municipal Corporation’s proposal with an estimate of Rs 6,630 crore tops the list, followed by Amravati worth Rs 5,305 crore and Nagpur – Rs 3,409 crore.
The estimated proposal of Mumbai has raised eyebrows as the Shiv Sena, which is in power in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), has already red-flagged the Centre’s move accusing it of trying to get back-door access to controlling the city.
It is also likely to become an issue during the BMC elections due to be held in early 2017.
The ‘Smart City’ proposal submitted by BMC has far lower estimate even than that of Aurangabad city, which is around Rs 1,595.5 crore.
The other cities to submit their estimated proposals include Pune – Rs 2,932 crore, Solapur – Rs 2,921 crore, Kalyan-Dombivali – Rs 2,057 crore, Nashik – Rs 1,945 crore and Navi Mumbai – Rs 1,734 crore.
During the Winter session of the state Legislature held at Nagpur in December last year, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had rejected Shiv Sena’s contention that the move was Centre’s ploy to gain back-door control of the city.
He had said that a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) would be set up to implement the project that will be dominated by civic officials.
Even Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray had questioned the belated opposition of the Sena to the project pointing out that the Sena-ruled BMC had approved the proposal in July 2015.
Fadnavis, without taking names, had recently said that all parties (including the Sena) in the Pune Municipal Corporation had approved the ‘Smart City’ project there.
He had said that the scheme no way takes away powers of the civic bodies, and instead it is the civic bodies which will decide on their priorities, on who should be awarded the contracts and allocation of funds.
An editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ had recently termed the Prime Minister’s flagship ‘Smart City’ project as “illegal” and “unconstitutional” and a ploy to gain back-door control over Mumbai.