Smart City Mission funds likely to be utilised to revive Aurangabad’s heritage

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A part of the Smart City Mission funds, a sum of ₹200 crore, is likely to be diverted towards the conservation of heritage structures in the city of Aurangabad. The amount, originally meant for developing a greenfield township, will be used to revive and conserve structures in old Aurangabad as part of the Smart City mission, owing to an appeal by city heritage experts that urged the government to pay heed to the crumbling heritage, which is also an integral part of the city’s economy.

The experts had even started an online petition objecting to the importance being given to the greenfield township at the outskirts of the city. They argued that instead of focusing on the township, which they described as just a “distant promise of development and jobs”, the Civic Administration must improve old areas of Aurangabad that were already providing employment for thousands of people.

Civic Administration officials said they were positive that the proposal to divert funds would be met with an approval from the government. “The proposal will be sent to the government for formal approval. We foresee no hurdles in receiving a nod as the proposed utilisation of funds is in accordance with the objectives of the Smart City Mission,” Aurangabad Mayor Nandkumar Ghodele said.

Dulari Qureshi, a historian, believes that diverting funds to protect history was a smart move. “If conserved properly, our local heritage has the potential to attract thousands of tourists from around the world. So, planned heritage conservation will be a significant boost to the region’s economy,” she said.

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