Mayor’s name missing on invite for PM’s city visit

Prashant Jagtap blames BJP for ‘hijacking’ the Smart City Mission event, promises to attend it

With two days to go for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the city to launch ‘Smart City Mission’ projects marking the first anniversary of the announcement of the government’s flagship programme, the absence of Pune Mayor Prashant Jagtap’s name on the invitation card seemed to have widened the BJP-NCP rift.

Jagtap said, “The mayor is the first citizen of the city but the Centre chose to neglect this fact by not writing the name on the invitation card. It shows BJP has hijacked the event. The organisers have not even included my speech at the function. NCP has always supported the Smart City Mission and not writing the mayor’s name on the invitation card is an insult. I am going to attend the function but my party will definitely look into the matter.”

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When asked about the mayor’s name missing on the invitation card, Pune Additional Municipal Commissioner Prerna Deshbhratar said, “Our list of dignitaries for PM’s function to Urban Development Ministry included the mayor’s name. As the event is organised by the Centre, they write names on the invitation card as per their protocol.”

Meanwhile, ahead of Modi’s visit to Pune on June 25, Pune Guardian Minister Girish Bapat, Pune Municipal Commissioner Kunal Kumar, Superintendent of Police Shashikant Shinde and other officials visited the badminton stadium of Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi where the event will be held and reviewed the security and seating arrangements.

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Bapat said, “It will be Prime Minister’s first public meeting in the city and a proud moment for Punekars that the Centre has chosen Pune as the venue to hold Smart City Mission’s first anniversary. The Prime Minister will launch 14 projects for Pune, including ‘Make Your City SMART’ contest, ‘Smart Net Portal’, mobility card of PMPML and a coffee table book of PMC. Considering the rainy season, we have chosen the indoor badminton stadium. I have reviewed the arrangements with senior civic and police officials. A total of 6,000 dignitaries are invited. The police administration has secured the stadium and Special Protection Group (SPG) will take over the venue before 24 hours of the event. From our side, all preparations are done.”

Soon after coming to power, the Modi Government on June 25, 2015, had declared to develop 100 smart cities in the country under the Smart City Mission. Urban Development Ministry had shortlisted 20 cities, including Pune and Solapur, though a contest for the first phase. Execution of works in 20 smart cities will kick-start with Modi launching 14 projects in Pune, and 69 others in other parts of the country entailing a total cost of Rs 1,770 crore.

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The function will be attended by Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, among others.

Besides Maharashtra’s Pune, other cities whose projects would be launched include Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Bhubaneswar (Odisha), Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh), Jaipur (Rajasthan), Kakinada (Andhra Pradesh), Kochi (Kerala) and Belagavi (Karnataka).

tushar.rupanavar@goldensparrow.com

Originally published on The Golden Sparrow

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