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Saurabh Katkurwar, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 13, 2013
Even as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) continues to demand a special planning authority for Thane, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has decided to give priority to projects in the region in this year’s budget.

Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar had, in November last year, specified the need for a special development agency on the lines of MMRDA for Thane. His party colleague and Thane’s guardian minister Ganesh Naik had also stated how the agency would help in the planned and integrated growth of the district.

The Congress controlled-MMRDA’s focus on projects in Thane is seen as a measure to counter the NCP’s demand.

The MMRDA has always been accused of taking over projects initiated by other agencies such as the public works department and the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation, which are ruled by the NCP.

A senior MMRDA official said, “This year’s budget would focus on development of various projects outside Mumbai, especially Thane.”

The MMRDA had allocated Rs. 4,825 crore for the Mumbai Metropolitan Region in the 2012-13 budget.

Sources claim that the allocation in this year’s budget would be the same.

Rahul Asthana, MMRDA chief, said, “Provision for new projects outside Mumbai has been made in the budget. For the city, we plan to concentrate on the completion of ongoing projects.”