Eye on BMC polls, MVA budget gives major share to Mumbai
Ahead of the civic elections in 2022, the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government gave a push to transport and infrastructure in the city and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). In the 82-minute budget speech by finance minister Ajit Pawar, Mumbai found a mention at least 20 times. Pawar announced a passenger water transport route connecting Vasai, Thane and Kalyan, along with dedicated bicycle tracks on Mumbai’s eastern and western express highways.
Political analysts and observers said with less scope to spend and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) having announced projects for the city, Mumbai could not get any new project or allocation. Infrastructure projects for Mumbai are also funded by different state agencies such as the
Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority and Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), besides BMC.
The water transport project between Vasai and Kalyan will have four jetties. “The Maharashtra government has decided to utilise the waterways around Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai for water transport. Vasai to Kalyan water transport service will be made available in the first phase. For this purpose, jetties will be constructed at four places namely Kolshet, Kalher, Dombivli and Mira-Bhayandar,” Pawar said.
As part of its aim to provide transport facilities of “international standards”, the budget listed out key projects, including Worli-Sewri connector (flyover), Mumbai coastal road, Goregaon-Mulund link road, Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link, Metro corridors, two of which will be ready by mid-2021, etc. Apart from projects in Mumbai city, the state mentioned key projects connecting MMR, including extension of Bandra-Versova sea link up to Virar, Virar-Alibag multimodal corridor, etc.
“We plan to complete the Sewree-Nhava project till September 2022. A four-lane flyover is under construction to connect Bandra-Worli sea link to Sewree-Nhava Trans-harbour link, which is likely to be completed in coming three years,” the finance minister said in his speech.
The minister also announced that the coastal road project, which is implemented by the BMC, will be completed by 2024. Another BMC project, Goregaon-Mulund Link Road, is in the tendering process, the minister added.
Besides, the detailed project report of the ₹42,000-crore extension of the Bandra-Versova-Virar Sea Link project is being prepared, Pawar said. The BMC’s ₹19,500 crore sewage water treatment project was mentioned, along with the ambitious plan to convert sea water to potable water for Mumbai.
“The work on 14 Metro lines, which is 337-km long, with estimated expenditure of ₹120,815 crore is in progress. The works on Metro 2A and 7 will be completed by 2021,” Pawar said.
In a bid to push healthier and eco-friendly mode of transport, the state announced construction of dedicated cycle tracks on the two major highways of Mumbai. Battery-operated bicycles on cycle tracks have got a good response in Bandra-Kurla Complex. “It is planned by the MMRDA to construct a separate cycle track on the Eastern and Western Express highways in Mumbai.”
Leader of Opposition and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis criticised the budget. Fadnavis said, “Was it Maharashtra’s budget or BMC budget? Several BMC projects, where the state does not give a single penny, were mentioned in the speech. Many ongoing projects like MTHL, Bandra-Versova sea link, Sewri Nhava, etc were started during our government. No new project has been taken up by the MVA government.”
Political analyst Hemant Desai said the tradition to restate projects of civic bodies or Centre in the state budget is not new. “The BJP has listed out Centre schemes in the past. They have reiterated Metro project as only they did it. Besides, the MVA did not have much scope—financially and project wise—to give or announce anything new for Mumbai. BMC takes care of most city project,” Desai said.