With BJP back in Maha, key infra projects likely to get boost | Mumbai news

Mumbai: With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) back in the power, the administration is expected to expedite big-ticket infrastructure projects that were stuck owing to the rift between the state and central government over the last two years. The Shinde-Fadnavis government has already begun holding meetings related to the projects and started pushing the stalled projects, resulting in a couple of proposals getting the Centre’s nod.

Deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis recently held a review meeting for the redevelopment of the much-delayed Dharavi Redevelopment Project spread over 106 hectares. The project was struck due to the non-transfer of 45 acres of Railways-owned land at Matunga, for which the state government paid 800 crore in March 2019.

Fadnavis assured the officials from the housing department that the new government will ensure that the land was transferred in the next few months. “We are preparing for the global tender for the project as the transfer is expected to gather pace now,” said a housing department official. Dharavi makeover project, aimed at redeveloping one of Asia’s biggest slums on prime land has been stuck for over two decades.

The bullet train, Metro line projects, new rail routes in various parts of the state and bulk drugs park in Raigad’s Dighi are among the key projects expected to gather pace under the Shinde-Fadnavis government.

“Not only the infrastructure projects but also the centrally sponsored schemes took a hit during the Thackeray government for various reasons. Besides the obvious tussle between the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi and the Narendra Modi government, the government faced a financial crunch because of the pandemic. Implementation of projects like Prime Minister Awas Yojana was ignored in the fight over political credit. On the other hand, the Centre gave secondary treatment to non-BJP governments, including Maharashtra, and it was evident during the Covid-19 pandemic. BJP-ruled states were given preference for disbursement of Covid-related aide,” said an officer requesting anonymity.

A senior official from Mantralaya said that the central government passed two key proposals in the last few days.

“Centre had threatened the state government to fold up Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC), which implements railway development projects during the Thackeray government, but it received 600 crore from the Railway ministry last week. Major rail projects were stuck for the want of money. Similarly, the ministry of housing and urban affairs has given nod recently to the Thane Metro line,” said an official from Mantralaya.

Another officer said that the infrastructure projects were hit during the Thackeray government tenure. “The car shed for Metro-3, earlier proposed to be built at Aarey, was shifted to Kanjurmarg, but the Thackeray government could not resolve the issues related to the land, leading to the delay and escalation of the cost. The Shinde-Fadnavis government’s decision to shift it back to Aarey will help push the project. The approval of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the share after the escalation cost was awaited for more than a year. Similar administrative steps were awaited for other lines of the Metro, which now will fall in line,” he said.

A former Sena minister blamed the Centre for not responding to requests from the MVA government. “Maharashtra was given step-motherly treatment during our rule. We have given a long list of the pending projects to the Centre in the NITI Ayog meeting held in Mumbai in September last year but got no response after that. In the case of the Matunga land for Dharavi redevelopment, nine letters were sent to the Rail Land Development Authority of the Railway ministry between July 2019 and August 2021, but there was no response. It appeared that the BJP did not want the projects to be implemented as it would have given credit to us,” the minister said, seeking not to be named.

An official from the urban development department said that the state government did not release its share for the key railway projects like Wadsa-Gadchiroli and Ahmednagar-Beed-Parli. “The decision to release 50% share in phase manner for 4,805 crore Ahmednagar-Beed-Parli, which is significant for the Marathawada, was taken during the last cabinet meeting of the Thackeray government,” he said.

A former BJP minister said that in addition to the infrastructure projects, more than 40 centrally sponsored schemes will be implemented by the new government. He said that the Thackeray government deprived the people of Maharashtra of these schemes as it did not want BJP or Modi government to take the credit.

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