SMART CITY LIST: PAWARS BLAST STATE FOR KEEPING PIMPRI-CHINCHWAD OUT OF LIST
WITH the central government pushing Pimpri-Chinchwad out of the smart city plan, the Pawar family has accused the Devendra Fadnavis government of “deliberately” playing political games to undermine their status in a city “which has put all other cities in Maharashta into a shade”. The Pawars are planning to take up the issue with the Prime Minister. And so are the Shiv Sena MPs.Leading the attack, former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Saturday told this paper that the state government had gone all-out to keep Pimpri-Chinchwad, their fiefdom, out of the smart city plan. “The Fadnavis government clubbed Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad city together. This was against the central government’s norms for selecting smart cities. And it ultimately led to omission of Pimpri-Chinchwad,” said Pawar.
He said that when the state government submitted the smart city plan by clubbing Pimpri-Chinchwad with Pune, he had personally led an NCP delegation to the Chief Minister and conveyed their strong opposition to the move. “Yet, the Fadnavis government did not take corrective steps. They should not have clubbed the two cities which have their own identity and status,” he said.Pawar said after the smart city list was out and he found the name of Pimpri-Chinchwad missing, he spoke to officials in the Union Urban Development Ministry. “The officials said it was the state government which has messed up… The ministry had asked the government to submit a revised plan showing Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad as two cities. But apparently the government did not do so,” he said.
Underlining the fact that Pimpri-Chinchwad was honoured with the best city award by the central government last year, Pawar said,”Whether it was e-governance, better infrastructure or civic amenities, Pimpri-Chinchwad has always remained in competition with cities like Mumbai and Nagpur. It is among the top three cities of Maharashtra. Then how can it not find place in smart city plan? It is clear that the Fadnavis government is playing politics and has deliberately kept Pimpri-Chinchwad out of smart city plan to show them (NCP) in a poor light.”Ajit Pawar said NCP chief Sharad Pawar was also miffed with the move and would take up the issue with the Prime Minister. “Pawarsaheb had been out of station. Once he returns, we will take the decision of taking up the issue with the Prime Minister,” he said.
Pawar said despite Pimpri-Chinchwad having three MPs and three MLAs, all of them have been found wanting. “They could force their government to include Pimpri-Chinchwad in the plan. It shows how ineffective they have been,” he said.Baramati MP Supriya Sule too expressed her disappointment over non-inclusion of Pimpri-Chinchwad in smart city plan. “It is a huge let-down both by the central government and the state government. The Maharashtra government erred in clubbing both Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad and the Centre completely ignored the rapid strides Pimpri-Chinchwad has been making of late. On merits, it deserved to be in smart city list. The government has been highly unfair…,” she said.
Like the NCP, Shiv Sena MP Shrirang Barne too blamed the Fadnavis government for Pimpri-Chinchwad getting a raw deal. “When the state submitted a common proposal for Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, I had met Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu. He had told me that he had asked the state to revise submission by showing Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad as separate cities. The state, it seems, did not care,” Barne said, adding that it would be wrong to blame the Centre.