The Mumbai makeover project has spawned bigger dreams.
The state government is now working on an ambitious 15-year plan to build expressways, airports and ports that will provide better connectivity across the state. The estimated initial investment: $3 billion or Rs 12,000 crore.
"We are looking at infrastructure development and modernisation across the state, linking our larger cities like Pune, Nashik, Kolhapur, Nagpur. This means more highways, expressways and airports. We are finalising the details," said Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.
The projects will be undertaken through four different public-private business models in which government investment will be nominal, said Chief Secretary Johny Joseph.
The government has also identified 21 new locations to be put on the aviation map, to try and accommodate the boom in civil aviation. Seven of these — including Shirdi, Amravati, Kolhapur and Latur — will be developed as full-fledged airports through private investment.
Forty-eight sites have been identified as business ports along the 720 km coastline of the state.
Deshmukh discussed a rough blueprint of this plan with global players in infrastructure while in New York last month.
Though Maharashra has seen steady growth in investment in industry over the last decade, there are signs of stagnancy thanks to the poor infrastructure beyond the Mumbai-Pune-Nashik triangle.
If the state is to compete with neighbours like Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, which are aggressively marketing their industry-friendly destinations, it has no option but to go in for a major infrastructure makeover.
In addition to transport, the state is also inviting private participation in the power generation, irrigation and urban housing sectors.
The Public-Private-Partnership Facilitation Cell set up four months ago by the government and headed by Secretary (Special Projects) Sanjay Ubale will act as an interface for investors. Deshmukh is also likely to set up an advisory committee of experts to implement the plan.