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HindustanTimes Sun,24 Aug 2014

Struggling city gears up to seek PM’s help

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, November 08, 2012
First Published: 02:24 IST(8/11/2012) | Last Updated: 02:25 IST(8/11/2012)

The state government is hoping that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the city on Saturday would usher in some good news.

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Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan is angling for a meeting with the PM to make a presentation on Mumbai and its pending infrastructure projects, and ask for better co-ordination and assistance from the Centre.

India Inc, which has been partnering with the state government for the multi-crore Mumbai makeover, has also sought an audience with Singh.

Narinder Nayar, chairman of Mumbai First, an initiative of business houses to assist in Mumbai’s transformation, has written to the PMO seeking Singh’s intervention to speed up pending projects and aid overall development of the Mumbai metropolitan region (MMR).

During his last visit to the city in August, Singh had disappointed the state administration as well as India Inc by keeping mum on the city’s makeover. This was despite the fact that a state delegation had made a presentation to him the same week in Delhi, which was followed up with a one-on-one meeting with Chavan during his visit. Mumbai First’s request for an appointment was also ignored.

“We would like the PM’s intervention in the overall development of the city and its metropolitan region. A pragmatic view has to be taken on this; the MMR needs separate environment guidelines as it is one the fastest developing urban agglomerate,” said Nayar.

Chavan wants a national project status for some mega infrastructure projects and the setting up of a task force in the PMO for co-ordination with Mumbai.

The state government will also pitch for Rs. 8,000 crore viability gap funding (VGF) for Mumbai Metro III corridor that is slated to run underground from Colaba to Seepz. The VGF is a one time grant given to a private developer to make the project commercially viable.

A request to expedite the pending international airport at Navi Mumbai is also on the cards.

A senior bureaucrat said both these issues would be highlighted if a meeting is formalised with the PM. Chavan and the state Congress want to use this opportunity to push for Mumbai makeover ahead of the 2014 polls.


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