Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Pune finally enters the smart city bid


PUNE: Corporators took an unanimous decision of approving the smart city proposal in late hours of Monday, December 14, after five changes to the proposal were suggested. The meeting, called urgently after the state sent orders on December 11, went on for more than 12 hours, final outcome being a positive decision.

Although the smart city plan has been approved by the corporators, the decision was taken with a pinch of salt. "We are not completely in agreement with the proposal that has been presented to us. We have doubts on why Aundh Baner Balewadi area was selected when they could have opted for an area which is underdeveloped and turned into smart city," said Congress leader Abhay Chhajed at the meet.

Majority of the corporators questioned the selection of the area Aundh Baner Balewadi which is already strong in terms of infrastructure. "We want that every project in this area should have a detailed report which would be passed by the general body before it is implemented," the corporators demand this in unison. 

Taking digs at Municipal Commissioner Kunal Kumar for having invoked BBMP act section 448 and calling for an urgent meet under directives of the state government, corporators applauded the fact that the meeting which was postponed on 9 December resulted in a reduction of the budget from 3,400 crore to 2,900 crore in the revised proposal. "No justification or explanation was provided as to how are these changes have been made. We want the budgets in the new projects to be brought to PMC for approval," added MNS's Kishor Shinde. 

The main issue of the corporators remained the special purpose vehicle, the head of which is an authority like the municipal commissioner, deputy commissioner, collector; but corporators demand the mayor to be the head. "The SPV should not overrun the PMC and the existing powers of corporators should not reduce. In fact, if the state government decides on letting the corporation of a city to decide if they need a SPV, we must dissolve it and continue with the smart city project," said Congress Corporator Arvind Shinde.

Standing committee head, Ashwini Kadam specifically mentioned that if the private body SPV does not work satisfactorily in two years it should be dissolved. "Our smart mayor and smart commissioner should have thought of all possibilities before making comments, they have made a mistake by giving us less time to study the proposal," she added. Deputy mayor Aba Bagul also added, "The smart city decision will either make this day written in gold in history or black, depends on how it is taken from here."

It was the Bhartiya Janata Party which supported the commissioner and mayor thoroughly, Corporator Ganesh Bidkar said, "There would have been a higher loss if we had lost the chance of smart city contest."


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