Published On : Wed, Jul 12th, 2017

Will including Bhandewadi in Smart City help amenity-starved Nagpur?

Nagpur: Even as the city of Nagpur sits on a humongous heap of garbage, coupled with potholed roads and haphazardly strewn out material and left over of incomplete cement roads, the NMC officials never miss any chance to brag about Nagpur as Smart City. In the latest bet, NMC has run more horses on papers by adding mouza Bhandewadi, stretching across 289 acre, in the proposed Smart City project.

With this development, the total area to be converted into Smart City has increased from 951 acre to 1,240 acre. However the big question is without any progress in sight (never count Metro rail project as it is not NMC’s baby), can Nagpur citizens really hope for smart city.

The total failure of NMC to provide even proper roads despite long delays tells it all. Nagpur traffic is not just out of order but it has become a mayhem and worst nightmare to commute through halt built cement roads and that too of inferior quality. The garbage management system has crawled to a grindling halt. Drainage network exposes its truth with every rainfall.

So it came as big surprise when NMC’s special purpose vehicle, Nagpur Smart and Sustainable City Development Corporation Limited (NSSCDCL), issued a notification some days ago to make citizens aware about the proposed town planning scheme in areas covered under Smart City project. The areas mentioned in the proposed town planning scheme are Pardi, Bharatwada, Punapur and Bhandewadi.

Before this, right from the initial stage to approval from the central government, NMC had mentioned only Pardi, Bharatwada and Punapur under the project.

East Nagpur MLA Krishna Khopde claims that NMC’s decision will benefit not only Bhandewadi but also entire East Nagpur. “Bhandewadi comprises of unauthorized layouts, which lack basic amenities like the other three nearby areas. I was surprised to see Bhandewadi being left out of the project earlier. I raised the issue a couple of times with the civic chief and office bearers of NMC,” he said.

Khopde added that the upcoming off-campus centre of Pune-based Symbiosis University and sports stadiums of Sports Authority of India (SAI) are situated near Bhandewadi, so the area will naturally align with the Smart City project.

NMC sources said that presence of abundant vacant land seems to have encouraged NMC to include Bhandewadi.

“The Smart City project is dependent upon land pooling. Also, vacant land along with existing scattered residences is a boon for town planning schemes. All these features are in place at Bhandewadi,” he said.

Sonawane also said that the plan is to prepare draft of town planning scheme by October-end, followed by submission to the state government for final approval. “We are planning to kick-off execution of infrastructure works like roads, sewage lines, water works etc in areas of Smart City project in January next year. The project may be completed in 2019 if everything goes as per our plan,” he said.

Well, we too wish everything goes as per plan, at least this time.