Mumbai: Days after the Centre handpicked 20 cities across the country for the first phase of its 'Smart City' project, the Shiv Sena on Monday said that instead of including Mumbai in the future list, financial assistance should be provided to the metropolis to complete its ongoing projects.
Sena's comments have invited flak from Opposition Congress and the NCP, which said that asking for financial assistance only proves the party's inability to run the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) "efficiently" and keep "corruption" at bay.
"Mumbai is a smart city and instead of including it in its 'Smart City' project, the Centre should instead give it two to five thousand crore to complete the ongoing projects. The Centre should not think of it as charity to Mumbai, but as its right," the Sena said in party mouthpiece 'Saamana.'
Criticising Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu's remarks that while the Centre would provide funds for development of cities, the respective civic bodies too will have to raise funds, the Sena said it was just like saying people need to buy the 'Acche Din'.
"Tomorrow, Naidu may say that under the project cheap homes will be built.. transport, water and garbage problems will be solved. But for that, municipal corporations will have to raise more funds. In short, people will have to purchase 'Acche Din'," it said.
Reacting to Sena's comments, Congress spokesperson Al-Nasser Zakaria said it was "shameful" that the BJP had to beg the Centre for financial assistance.
"Pleading to the Centre to give financial assistance is shameful, especially when the Sena is ruling the BMC which has the biggest budget of over Rs 30,000 crore. It shows the incompetency among Sena leaders," Zakaria said.
The NCP said that proper governance, and not finance was needed for development and upkeep of Mumbai.
"The problem is proper governance. Every department of the BMC is steeped in corruption. If the ruling party puts an end to corruption and ensures proper governance, there won't be any need to seek funds for Mumbai," NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said.