The Maharashtra government has reportedly appointed ten senior IAS officers to 'mentor' each of the 10 cities in the state that have been selected by the central government in phase-I of 'Smart Cities' programme, to compete with each other and remaining 88 cities from across the country.
Under this programme only around 20 cities will be selected for phase-II based on the efforts the cities initiated towards the goals, and will be funded to be developed during next four years as a 'Smart City'.
Commissioner and 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 for each of the 10 cities, which will be submitted to Centre at the end of October.
The 10 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.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has taken this decision to capitalize on senior bureaucrats’ experience and in-depth knowledge of the city concerned, to ensure the chosen cities in the state has fair chance to advance to next level and move towards being 'Smart Cities', according to Manisha Mhaiskar, secretary to Urban Development Department (UDD).
Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), Ajoy Mehta, has been given the responsibility of Mumbai. Nitin Kareer, principal Secretary (UDD-1) and former Commissioner of the Pune Municipal Corporation, has been appointed as the mentor of Pune-Pimpri-Chinchwad. Manu Kumar Srivastava, Principal Secretary (Revenue) will mentor Thane, while Sanjay Bhatia, Managing Director of CIDCO will act as Mentor for Navi Mumbai. U P S Madan, Metropolitan Commissioner (MMRDA) will mentor Kalyan-Dombivli. Praveen Pardeshi, Principal secretary to Chief Minister will be mentor for 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 pointed out the high-potential points of various cities, such as Aurangabad 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) – the next destination of the Prime Minister's ambitious 'Make in India' programme. 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.
These cities will have to go through different stages of competition to ensure funds from the Centre to develop infrastructure and other basic amenities. The Centre plans to spend Rs 48,000 crore on improving 100 cities as smart cities. 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.