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Smart Cities get more fund, Opposition labels it an eyewash


Despite funds of Rs 436 crore lying unspent for over three months, the Centre has sent Rs 16 crore more each for Pune and Solapur, the cities chosen for the Smart Cities Mission. The opposition parties have slammed the project, terming it just an ‘eyewash’, as no guidelines and deadline is set for it.

The Maharashtra government has failed to spend funds allocated for Smart Cities, Pune (Rs 150 crore) and Solapur (Rs 286 crore) for over three months. On September 2, another instalment of Rs 16 crore was sanctioned by the state for the cities, as per the order by the Urban Development Department, the nodal department to implement the project.

An official close to the development agreed there is no guidelines set or any model based on which work can be started. The official also blamed it on red tapism in the government system, which leads to delays. The government has a deadline of 2019 to make the cities smart, the official added.

However, the opposition has ridiculed the project, asking about the exact concept of the mission.

“The government has chosen only two wards in Pune’s Hinjewadi area for the smart city mission. The area is known for its IT companies and the government wants to make it digital. This is ridiculous. There is no provision for infrastructure for common people in the plan like earlier scheme of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The Centre and the state are also confused about the idea of smart city and planning only digital initiatives will not resolve problems of the population,” NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said.

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