Industrialists in the city, who have been partnering with the state government for the multi-crore Mumbai makeover, want Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to set the ball rolling to make Mumbai an international finance centre (IFC), and implement a 40-year concept plan for the city proposed by Singapore Consultants, which includes freeing up valuable Mumbai Port Trust land.
Members of Mumbai First, an initiative of business houses to assist in Mumbai’s transformation, has sought an audience with the prime minister during his visit to the city on August 18, to discuss certain sore issues that have been blunting the city’s progress.
India Inc has also put its weight behind certain projects that it believes will facilitate investment in the city. It has called for immediate attention to the coastal road project linking Nariman Point to Borivli, and an inner ring road linking the Eastern Freeway. They have also sought speedy execution of the elevated railway corridor and a special allocation of Rs1,000 crore for high-quality coaches for the city’s point-to-point A/C bus service.
The letter written to the PM by Narinder Nayar, chairman of Mumbai First, on August 2 has highlighted these issues, and has pointed out that while the makeover has got good response from the chief minister and senior officials of the government, a lot still needs to be done.
The letter states that industry leaders want to discuss the possibility of setting up an International Banking Operation Centre (IBOC) as the first phase in making Mumbai an IFC as this requires “only a few regulatory changes”.
The state government along with Mumbai First had mooted the IFC status for the city in 2004. Backing the Singapore Consultants’ concept plan, the letter says that the environment ministry needs to take a “pragmatic view” of the city’s needs, and permit reclamation for its future development.
The group has also opposed Mumbai Port Trust’s plans to build a container terminal saying port operations in cities have been curtailed the world over so that the land can be used for the benefit of its citizenry.
“We strongly believe your urgent intervention is required, not only to put a stay on this expansion, but to prevail upon the shipping ministry to make available the vast expanse of land that belong to MbPT for affordable housing,” the letter states.
The letter also calls for greater co-ordination between Delhi and Mumbai, for which it proposes a representative from the Prime Minister’s Office on the empowered committee of Mumbai makeover. This position was held earlier by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan.