Maharashtra is lagging far behind Gujarat in the plan to construct the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor. While the Gujarat government has managed to acquire 70 % of the land required for the project, land acquisition is yet to start in Maharashtra.
The mega project is estimated to cost Rs77,000 crore, and will require land from across six states. The performance of UP and Maharashtra has been the poorest on this front.
The corridor is slated to run across 1,500km from the National Capital Region (NCR) to Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in Panvel. It is split in two phases -- from Rewari in Haryana to Vadodara in the first phase, and from Vadodara to Mumbai in the second phase. Bids for the first phase have been announced now, since 90% of land acquisition is complete. “We have clearly lost out to Gujarat, because, with the first phase racing ahead, port traffic in JNPT will come down. We are already seeing this happen with the auto industry, as ships prefer Mundra port instead of Mumbai or JNPT,” said a senior official who did not wish to be named.
However, industries secretary K Shivaji said: “The difference between the completion deadlines for Phase I and II is just six months, so there should not be a problem.”
Maharashtra’s chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad was recently called to Delhi by the PMO, along with officials of the other states through which the corridor will pass, to speed up implementation of the project.