As Cambridge and Oxford cities are widely known as the home of University of Cambridge and University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, the state government proposes to develop Pune as smart city for education and information technology (IT).
More than 3,500 acres of land is available in Pune where the government plans to develop necessary infrastructure and promote investments in education and IT sectors for the proposed global smart city.
Further, Palghar, located about 87 km north off Mumbai, has 480 hectares of land.
A BJP minister, on condition of anonymity, told Business Standard, “Actually, the government was quite serious to make announcement with regard to the theme- or subject-based smart cities in Maharashtra in the annual Budget for 2015-16. However, it was ultimately decided to conduct a comprehensive study, so that the development of proposed smart cities can be a reality with the active involvement of the government, the private sector, the banks and financial institutions, and other stakeholders.”
The minister said subject-based cities like Taxila and Nalanda were considered to be among the earliest universities in the world. On these similar lines, Pune can become a global education smart city.
According to the minister, public and private sector banks, and leading architects and city planners from across the globe have evinced interest to associate with the state government for developing theme-based smart cities in Maharashtra.
Morever, fast-growing Thane district, adjacent to Mumbai, can be developed as the industrial smart city.
The minister said about 500 acres of land can be exploited for the purpose. Further, Aurangabad, which could be developed as tourism smart city, has already 200 acres of land available where the infrastructure will be upgraded. The minister informed that Aurangabad is a tourism hub, which is surrounded by historical monuments such as Ajanta and Ellora caves, and Bibi Ka Maqbara.