Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar on Tuesday expressed his unhappiness with the pace of Mumbai's makeover and pointed to an overall lack of foresight in the planning and execution of big-ticket infrastructure projects.
Pawar pointed to the coastal road versus sea link controversy, which has derailed the city's development.
"It is going to be tough to get a nod from the environment ministry for a coastal road. In the meanwhile, work on the Worli-Haji Ali sea link has been derailed because Reliance, the company executing the project wants a written guarantee that coastal roads will not be implemented," he said. The construction of coastal roads is chief minister Prithviraj Chavan's pet project and he has been trying to get a go ahead for it from the Centre.
Pawar said this kind of ad hoc planning was responsible for other errors including planning the monorail, constructing "unaesthetic and poorly used" skywalks and giving a go ahead for building an elevated metro instead of an underground one.
"When the metro was being planned, I had said even if it costs twice the amount we should go for an underground metro and not an elevated track,'' he added. He believes that the elevated metro track will only lead to traffic chaos in the city.
Sources said the Nationalist Congress Party ministers had complained to Pawar that projects were being delayed in red tape or an unwillingness to take decisions because of fear of scrutiny by activists.
"There should be transparency but it should not come in the way of taking decisions," Pawar said. He suggested that a panel led by chief secretary should be given veto powers to decide on big tenders or Build-Operate-Transfer projects to ensure that projects were put on fast track.