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Fadnavis govt gets ready for state polls with big push for infrastructure projects

Maharashtra govt approves plans for three new Metro lines in Mumbai and a water grid for the drought-hit Marathwada region.

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Mumbai: With only three months left for the Maharashtra assembly elections, the Devendra Fadnavis-led government is rolling out infrastructure projects.

The state cabinet Tuesday approved plans for three new Metro lines in Mumbai, a water grid for drought-hit Marathwada region and has agreed to transfer a government plot to partially raise funds for a Metro line in Pune.

Decisions on more such infrastructure projects — pending and new ones — are likely to be taken as well as populist schemes laid out over the next two months until the code of conduct comes into effect.

Before the Lok Sabha elections this year, the Fadnavis government had pushed through 38 decisions over two meetings in the final week before the model code of conduct came into effect.

Metro projects

The Fadnavis government — which redrew the entire Metro rail plan for Mumbai and fast-tracked it after coming to power — approved three new projects in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. This takes the total approved length of the Mumbai Metro network to 245 kilometres, a bulk of it pushed by the Fadnavis government.

The recently approved projects also include a 14-km corridor from Wadala to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, which will link with the under-construction Wadala-Thane Metro to connect South Mumbai and Thane.

The Rs 8,000-crore corridor, expected to be completed by March 2026, will be partially underground for 8.7 kilometres through the Mumbai Port Trust land on the city’s east coast. There are plans to unlock the Mumbai Port Trust land to create open spaces for residential and commercial development.

The state cabinet also approved another 25-km line from Kalyan to Taloja at Rs 11,000 crore and another 11-km line from Gaimukh to Shivaji Chowk, which is expected to cost Rs 5,000 crore. These lines will boost connectivity in the larger Mumbai Metropolitan Region. The state government has set a deadline of March 2024 and March 2022 for the two corridors respectively.

Mumbai eventually hopes to have a Metro network of 275.3 kilometres, the cost of which has been pegged at Rs 88,000 crore.

“For the three lines approved Tuesday, the Union finance ministry’s department of economic affairs has asked us to seek a bilateral loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency. Besides, the projects will also be eligible for the 10 per cent central government funding for mega transport projects,” said R.A. Rajeev, metropolitan commissioner.

Agencies such as the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation and the City and Industrial Development Corporation are also expected to contribute to the Kalyan-Taloja corridor as the alignment passes through their jurisdictions. The Mumbai Port Trust is likely to give the MMRDA land to monetise as its contribution for the Wadala-Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Metro, Rajeev added.

The cabinet also extended a helping hand to the Hinjewadi-Shivajinagar Metro line by giving land under its ownership to the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority in order to partially help the latter with the required viability gap funding for the project.

Also read: This BJP MLA is Devendra Fadnavis’ go-to troubleshooter for seething farmers & allies

Marathwada water woes

The Fadnavis government also approved a plan to set up a water grid in two of Marathwada’s districts — Aurangabad and Jalna. The project is expected to cost Rs 4,293 crore and will include setting up of a pipeline network of 737 kilometres in the Aurangabad district and 458.29 kilometres in Jalna.

“The idea is to connect the various dams in the region through a water grid to ensure supply to all villages in the region. We will invite tenders to implement it on a hybrid annuity model,” a state government official said.

A hybrid annuity model is a combination of a cash contract and a build, operate and transfer model.

“We have signed an agreement with Israel’s Mekorot Development to plan the water grid project. Under this agreement, we will get ten primary feasibility reports in six phases till February 2020. The feasibility reports for Jalna and Aurangabad were presented as part of this agreement,” he added.

Also read: In election year, Devendra Fadnavis’ Rs 7,500 crore push to connect Mumbai & satellites

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  1. why is the govt taking a piecemeal approach towards metro when they should look at seamless travel accross all sectors ?? and from where the money is coming ???

  2. 88,000 crores is a very large capital outlay for the Metro project. May it prove to be financially self sustaining. Not mentioned in the column is the Navi Mumbai airport, arguably the most consequential of all infrastructure projects in the state.

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