Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announced on Wednesday that China may help the state government build the ambitious Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) project. Praising the Chinese mode of investment over Japan, which has funded several infrastructure projects in India, Fadnavis said that Chinese are quick decision-makers, while it takes at least two years to get permissions from Japan.
The China Communication Construction Company (CCCC), a state holding, which has built a 42-km-long link road in China within three-and-a-half years, has expressed interest in the MTHL project. They are keen to finish the project in 3-4 years with an investment at 2% concessional funding. The MTHL is a 22-km freeway-grade road bridge, which will connect the eastern side of Mumbai with Navi Mumbai and Panvel.
The CCCC is also keen to invest in roads, bridges, metro projects and the power sector at interest rates of 2%-6% per annum.
When asked about the security aspect and permissions involved to get a Chinese company on board, the chief minister said once the project is finalised, a there will be no violation of any laws.
Explaining how it is a win-win situation for Maharashtra, Fadnavis said, “China is developed in surplus and it needs new avenues for investment. The labour there is expensive and so it is now involved in high-tech manufacturing technology, which it wants to move elsewhere. There is a huge paradigm shift with investment replacing trade in China’s outlook towards India. Also our demography of young people, gives us an edge.”
The chief minister said the only problem that may crop up is the issue of hedging and rupee volatility. “We need to create an ecosystem for them that eliminate these problems. Foxconn, the makers of iPad and iPhone, is keen to shift to Maharashtra along with their suppliers. I met the Bank of China chairman, who is keen to set shop in India, which the central government is working out. If we don’t give a predictable regime then it won’t go ahead,” he said.