It seems that the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is least concerned about its ambitious pilot project of setting up virtual classrooms in 13 villages in Thane district, a project that was announced during the tenure of the former MMRDA Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad.
Two years after its announcement, the project has made negligible progress. The MMRDA had made a provision of Rs 5 crore in the 2010-11 budget and Rs 10 crore in 2011-12 for the project. “I am not aware of any such project. I can only say that the MMRDA is a planning authority, so our aim will be to implement and come up with those projects that fall under our portfolio,” said a senior MMRDA official.
To be scrapped?
In 2010, Gaikwad had announced that the planning authority would be setting up virtual classrooms, as well as virtual hospitals, to connect remote villages to the metropolitan region. The first beneficiaries of this project were to be the 10 villages that fall along the Diva-Vasai-Panvel railway route.
After announcing the project, the MMRDA had said that they would be calling it the community facilitation centre and that such a project was being implemented for the first time in the country. The planning authority also said that it was confident of its success. However, two years after its announcement, the project now appears to be on the verge of being scrapped. When questioned whether the project was going to be officially called off, the senior official refused to comment.
MMRDA Joint Project Director (Town Planning) Shankar Deshpande said, “We are implementing the project in Thane district.” When questioned about the project’s current status, the official said that he would have to speak to his superiors before divulging details.
The number of villages that would have benefited from this scheme
Rs 10 cr
Amount that MMRDA had made a provision for the project in the 2011-12 budget
Rs 5 cr
Provision made by MMRDA for the project in the 2010-11 budget