In his maiden budget, finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar sought to strike a balance between rural and urban development, by making villages easier to reach – through better roads, rail lines and more airstrips.
In a bid to spread the benefits of development across the state, the budget has allotted Rs268 crore to develop smart cities with hi-tech townships along highways and transport modes. Apart from Mumbai, the budget has provided Rs174 crore and Rs198crore for metro projects in Pune and Nagpur.
“It has been observed that rural roads get the least funds, but their connectivity is most important for the state. We have made a provision of Rs3,213 crore to construct roads across 5,000km under several schemes,” Mungantiwar said.
To better connect smaller roads that run inside villages, a scheme called the ‘Mukhyamantri Gramin Marg Yojana’ has been launched. The scheme will get Rs350 crore this year, and based on the progress of the scheme, it will be allotted Rs1,000 crore annually after that.
“We will also transfer 2,000-3,000km of state road to the Centre, so they are declared national highways. In this way, the state will save several thousand crores. I recently met Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari, who has agreed to the plan. This will also help us concentrate on other projects,” the minister said.
To increase rail connectivity to major cities, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) will be formed with equity from the state government and the railways ministry. The state has allotted Rs69 crore for this.
Under Maharashtra airports development corporation, airstrips will be developed at Ozar, Kolhapur, Akola, Shirdi, Karad, Amravati, Solapur and Chandrapur, which will indirectly boost the development of these areas.