PUNE: Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday announced that the selection of cities for the smart city project will be initiated with issuing of the guidelines. However, there has been no response from the state government regarding Pune's willingness to participate in the competition.
Naidu assured the Rajya Sabha that every state in the country will get to develop at least one city under the central government's initiative of developing 100 smart cities. The Union cabinet accorded approval for the smart cities mission last week and guidelines for its implementation including the criteria for selection of cities are being finalised. The minister clarified that the process of selection of cities for developing them as smart cities will be initiated after the guidelines are issued to the states.
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) administration, however, is clueless about the mission as the state government has not communicated anything yet. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had recently said that the state government will appoint a special officer to facilitate Pune's claim. The officer was supposed to coordinate with various stakeholders, however, the CM's promise remained on paper. The state will select cities and forward the list for final selection to the Centre.
"The state government needs to push Pune's proposal. City has eight BJP MLAs and a MP. Also, it is a BJP led state government. We hope that the city MLAs and the state government will facilitate Pune's proposal. I will follow it up at the Centre," said NCP city president and Rajya Sabha MP Vandana Chavan, who is also a member of the parliamentary standing committee and the consultancy committee on urban development.
City BJP leaders and MLAs are still hopeful that the government will select Pune for the first round and also forward Pune's name for the final competition. MP Anil Shirole said that the city was very much in the competition and the state government has given its support.