Nagpur: Nagpur citizens may have been amused by the Prime Minister Narenda Modi’s recent announcement of inclusion of city in his pet Smart City project, but the stark reality lies far from realizing this dream, thanks to the non-preparedness of NMC authorities and the cash strapped civic body. Insiders revealed that the Union Government has set tough parameters for qualifying Smart City programme and in all likelihood Nagpur may lose out on the scale, both in terms of budget and resources.
The NMC’s general body meeting held on Monday has approved the proposal to affirm Nagpur’s claim for Smart City project. However, NMC has rested its hopes on Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) which may help them sail through the project. However FICCI team will have its own set of norms which mainly include its study on NMC’s financial viability. During its visit to Nagpur, FICCI team will also coordinate with other stakeholders in the project apart from NMC and NIT. On the contrary, the financial status of civic body stands grim chance to get the project, sources claimed.
The foremost criteria for qualifying under Smart City programme include sustainable development under AMRUT and Housing for All. Sources said that though Mayor Praveen Datke has a bagful of claims, the fact that the local bodies like NIT and NMC will have hard time fulfilling the criteria is evident now.
The union government had recently convened a meeting with state representatives and other stakeholders in New Delhi to decide on the criteria for selecting and ranking cities. With the passing of the proposal, the civic body will now send its nomination to Maharashtra government informing about its readiness to take part in the Smart City project. If selected, NMC is likely to spend 250 cr on annual basis.
Under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the central and state governments are supposed to provide Rs 4,000 and Rs 8,000 respectively to construct toilets for such families. If the cost of the toilets exceeds this amount, the difference will be shared by NMC and the beneficiaries. Datke said that the civic body has already demanded that the state government increase its share from Rs 8,000 to Rs 12,000. Sources contradicted Datke’s claim as mere tall talk and far from reality.
Nagpur Today View
Every citizen, in his or her capacity will be happy to hear all melody and not ruckus about the city’s development. But hold on… Forget smart city, the city’s worsening civic amenities have even taken it far from the basic standard of living. The condition of roads, public toilets and maintenance of public properties like garden, bus stand, hospitals and of late the menace of stray dogs is well known to everyone. Going by the yardstick of Smart City project, it appears like a fairy tale for Nagpur to realize this dream, thanks to the horrible functioning of civic body and NIT authorities. Instead of growing up in quality, the authorities are gradually limiting the development to paper works only. And the task done reveals its own quality immediately after it is accomplished. Take the example of recently asphalted roads which clearly reveals the fact. Let’s face it…Compare the present city roads with what it was a decade ago! You will get the answer. It’s wake up call for NMC and NIT.