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Riverfront development key factor in PCMC ‘Smart City’ project

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Pawana riverfront development, accessibilty improvement at BRTS stations, the city’s first surveillance control centre, Wi-Fi hotspots, citizen support centres, streetscaping and junction improvement are among the highlights of the Pimpri Chinchwad Smart city project. The civic body had set aside Rs1,440 crore for the project, and submitted a proposal to the state government last month. Detailed project reports on these key components will be prepared shortly, said municipal commissioner Dinesh Waghmare. A private agency has given an AAA- rating to Pimpri Chinchwad. Waghmare said there is no link between the rating and financial capability of the civic body to execute the plan. Most of the income for PCMC is through Local Body Tax (67%), but LBT will be scrapped once the Goods and Services Taxes comes into force. The rating will be revised once the government gives clear guidelines on GST.

In the initial phase, Rs150 crore has been allotted for the riverfront development, which will include landscaping, plantation of trees along the river banks, jogging and cycle tracks. Around five years ago, PCMC had sent a detailed project report on this to the environment ministry of the central government. However, the plan could not be implemented due to a fund crunch. The corporation will send a revised proposal soon. Wakad and Pimple Saudagar has been selected for area-based development under the Smart Cities Mission, as the area received the highest number of votes from citizens. The projects implemented in this area will be replicated across the twin township. Also, improved traffic management received the maximum votes for pan-city solutions.

The PCMC will also build service ducts and lay an optic fibre network across the city for its ambitious ‘digital backbone infrastructure’ project, through which it can set up information kiosks, smart parking, and a city surveillance control centre. The municipal corporation is also planning a solar model city, and an information and communication technology platform for public services like traffic lights, and streetlights, solid waste management, disaster, and health management. Waghmare has also hinted that there are hopes for revival of the project to bring water from Pawana dam to Nigdi. If the state government removes the stay on the project, around 0.5 TMC of water will be saved, he said.

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