Industrial cities on the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor will not get a free rein. The state government has gone back on an initial plan to amend existing laws to set up these cities as exclusive enclaves run by the companies developing them.
In the earlier plan, the state wanted to exempt the cities from gram panchayat and municipal laws.
The state’s urban development department has now suggested and will issue a notification granting the special planning authority status to the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), a state-run agency that develops industrial infrastructure.
“The last time we gave a special planning authority status to a company, it was [to] Lavasa and it led to a controversy. We don’t need to grant special planning status to private companies or have CEOs running it, when MIDC is the nodal agency looking into DMIC projects,” said a senior official.
The DMIC project spans 10 districts in the state, including Mumbai, Thane, Raigad, Aurangabad and Nasik. It covers 18% area in Maharashtra, with 26 % of the state’s population falling under its area of influence.
In the first phase, two new industrial cities have been proposed – the Dighi maritime city at Raigad and the Shendre-Bidkin manufacturing hub in Aurangabad.
Under the existing MIDC Act, there is a provision that allows granting the agency special planning powers over industrial enclaves, which will now be extended to these cities. This means, even as private companies are handed out the job of completing base infrastructure, the power to approve building plans, power transmission lines, roads, compliance of environment norms, and to punish irregularities will stay with MIDC.
The state’s industries department had issued a government resolution in January saying these cities would be controlled in perpetuity by the companies developing trunk infrastructure here headed by a government official.
The order had stated other than providing adequate police force to ensure law and order, there would be no interference from the state government.
“Other states that come under DMIC are opting for developing these industrial cities as special townships like Jamshedpur, because it can ensure speedier implementation. However, granting such powers brings in its wake several other issues, especially over rights of locals and complaints of excess, land and environment violation,” said a state industries department official.