The Maharashtra government has appointed ten senior IAS officers to “mentor” each of the ten cities in the state that have been selected for the Centre’s ‘Smart City’ project.
The decision to appoint a mentor for these ten cities has been taken considering that these places will be competing with other 90 cities from across the country to become a ‘Smart City’. In the first phase, only around 20 cities will be selected under the project.
The ten cities from Maharashtra selected for development as smart cities are: Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan-Dombivli, Pune-Pimpri-Chinchwad, Nashik, Nagpur, Amravati, Solapur and Aurangabad.
“As cities have to prepare their plan in a way that it remains in the competition till the end, experienced and senior bureaucrats have been appointed as mentors for each of the ten cities,” said Manisha Mhaiskar, secretary to Urban Development Department (UDD).
“Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has taken care to ensure that the bureaucrat has in-depth knowledge of the city concerned and is aware of its needs. He should have previously worked in the city or at the Municipal Corporation, for which he has been appointed,” she added.
Nitin Kareer, Principal Secretary (UDD-1) has been appointed as the mentor of Pune-Pimpri-Chinchwad, as he had served as the Commissioner of the Pune Municipal Corporation.
Similarly, Ajoy Mehta, present Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) will be the mentor for Mumbai.
Manu Kumar Srivastava, Principal Secretary (Revenue) will prepare a roadmap for Thane, while Sanjay Bhatia, Managing Director of CIDCO will take care of Navi Mumbai.
U P S Madan, Metropolitan Commissioner (MMRDA) will mentor Kalyan-Dombivli.
Praveen Pardeshi, Principal secretary to Chief Minister has been given the responsibility of CM’s hometown Nagpur, whereas, Milind Mhaiskar, secretary to CM will be the mentor for Solapur city.
Apurva Chandra, Principal Secretary of Industries and Power has been given the responsibility of Aurangabad.
Mhaiskar said that Aurangabad will be the next destination of the Prime Minister’s ambitious ‘Make in India’ programme and it will emerge as an investment hub in the upcoming years as Shendra-Bidkin belt will be at the centre of investment as part of Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) and the same project will probably be focused in the Smart City proposal.
She added that the textile zone would be made priority for Amravati and Solapur, while automobile and electronic zone will be Pune’s priority.
“Kalyan-Dombivali will be shaped as an alternative to Mumbai, Pune and Thane in terms of industrial and colonial development while preparing the final proposal,” she said.
“Commissioner, Mayor, including the elected body of the corporation, public participation, a consultant who has the technical know-how and the mentor will be the four pillars that will prepare the proposal,” she said.
Mhaiskar said that by the end of October, all the ten cities will submit their proposals to the Centre and each city will compete with other 99 cities and if selected, it will be developed during next four years as a ‘Smart City’.
These cities will have to go through different stages of competition to ensure funds from the Centre that will help in developing infrastructure and other basic amenities. The Centre plans to spend Rs 48,000 crore on improving 100 cities as smart cities after selecting them for various schemes and projects through phase-wise competitions.
The share for the development of the city would be 50 per cent of the respective corporation and 25 per cent each will be fund by the state and Centre.