Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Friday accused the state government of playing a partisan role in shortlisting the names for the smart city project.
While finding faults with the guidelines drawn by the Union Urban Development ministry, Chavan said, “Maharashtra, which is a big state, should have insisted on 13 cities for the smart city project. However, the state has got only 10 cities under the project for 100 smart cities.”
“The decision to promote Kalyan Dombivali, Aurangabad and Mumbai as smart cities was taken with electoral politics in mind and not on merit,” the Congress leader said.
“Information sought from state and Centre under the Right to Information Act clearly exposes the manipulations done to promote certain cities,” Chavan said, while questioning why Pimpri Chinchwad, which deserved an independent status, was clubbed with Pune for smart city development. He also questioned Nanded being left out to accommodate Kalyan Dombivali.
Chavan said a city like Mumbai, with a population of 1.25 crore, was also allocated Rs 480 crore for five years, same as the budget for smaller cities picked from north-eastern states with population less than 25,000.
However, officials in the state urban development department refuted the charge. “There is no violation of guidelines. For a city to be picked for smart city project, 60 per cent weightage is given to central guidelines and 40 per cent to state guidelines. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has clearly said that even those cities which have failed to make it to smart city project would be seriously considered under state-driven smart city project,” a senior official said.