With an aim to call for tenders by February and award contracts by May, the Maharashtra government will start the formal land acquisition for chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ pet project — Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway — on Monday.
The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), the implementing agency for the project, will start the joint measurement of 8,520 hectare land required for the road across 10 districts. It plans to complete the task within an ambitious time frame of less than three months. The corporation is racing to meet the chief minister’s onerous 2019 deadline for the project, which will cut the time required to travel between Nagpur, Fadnavis’ home town, and the state capital to eight hours from the current 16 while spurring growth in 10 districts.
RL Mopalwar, vice-chairman and managing director of MSRDC, said, “We have had discussions with landowners informally, but the rules for land pooling were recently notified by the state government after which we are starting the formal process for land acquisition with the joint measurement. Informally, we have consent from land owners of about 2,000 hectare.”
The government will give land owners the choice of either land acquisition through land pooling,. where owners will receive compensation as well as a portion of the developed land, so that they can avail benefits of price appreciation brought by the expressway, or through a one-time compensation as per the Land Acquisition Act.
The joint measurement will be carried out by officials from the district collector’s office, MSRDC and the land owners together to demarcate land boundaries and record ownership. It is only after this exercise that the MSRDC will get an idea of how many land owners are willing to opt for land pooling. The corporation has divided 300 people into 30 teams across the 10 districts for the joint measurement, Mopalwar said.
The MSRDC plans to start construction only once it has acquired 60% of land required for the eight-lane highway, he added. The corporation will call for tenders on an engineering procurement contract model in multiple packages of 50 to 100 kms each. The state is in talks with the Asian Development Bank for financing the project.