Maharashtra bats for Kanjurmarg plot for Metro at Niti Aayog meet
The Maharashtra government on Tuesday batted for an amicable solution on transfer of Kanjurmarg land for the proposed integrated car depot of various Metro lines at Kanjurmarg, saying it would help save huge cost of land acquisition, construction and preserve the forest. The controversial shift of the car depot from Aarey Colony to Kanjurmarg has delayed the Metro projects, amid the dispute over the ownership of the 41.27-hectare plot at Kanjurmarg.
Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray during his meeting with Niti Aayog officials on Tuesday in Mumbai requested the Centre’s assistance for its infrastructure, transport, housing, health projects. It also demanded a share in tax/cess collection on diesel-petrol, extension of GST compensation period by three more years, revision of NDRF norms for calamity-affected people and sought clarification on the national stand on Chinese investment in India. The state also requested the Centre for transfer of 45 acres of railway land for Dharavi Redevelopment and sanctions/extensions of loans by international financial institutions for various infrastructure projects.
In a presentation before the Niti Ayog team, the state requested the Centre to amicably resolve the land-related litigation. Besides private parties, the department for promotion of industry and internal trade too has claimed the ownership over the land earmarked for the car depot at Kanjurmarg. The pending litigation in the Bombay High Court has delayed the project resulting in the escalation in the cost. Thackeray, during his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 7 had requested for ‘necessary directions to all concerned’ for to resolve the issue to help the construction of the car depot for Metro lines – 2, 4, 4A, 6 and 14 worth ₹58,818 crore. The issue was once again pushed during the Niti Ayog meeting on Tuesday.
The government has also requested for extension to the closing date of the Asian Development Bank loan worth $926 million availed for Metro lines 2A, 2B and 7 by two years to June 30, 3035. The state has also demanded permission for construction of a Metro-7 station on defence land at Kandivli. It has also demanded clarity on the policy over development in the vicinity of Defence establishments. The state also requested for speedy nod to the detailed project report rail/Metro projects under implementation in Nashik, Pune and Nagpur.
The meeting was attended by vice-chairman of Niti Ayog Rajiv Kumar, member Ramesh Chand, CEO Amitabh Kant and other officials. Besides the CM and his deputy Ajit Pawar, key officials from various government departments were also present in the meeting held at Sahyadri guest house. “Kumar commended the efforts by Maharashtra in containing the spread of Covid-19. Kant applauded the state policy rolled out to promote electric vehicles. He also asked the state to ensure the rise in EVs and their charging stations,” statement issued by the CMO read.
The state once again pushed for release of dues of GST compensation of more than ₹30,000 crore. It has also said that the compensation period should be extended by three to five years beyond its five-year period ends in June 2022. The Centre has also been requested for devolution of additional excise duty (AED), Road and Agriculture cess levied on petrol and diesel. “Against Maharashtra’s contribution of ₹32,432 crore towards central taxes in 2020-21, we received only ₹383 crore in devolution. Similarly, against the collection of ₹14,032 crore in the form of petrol in 2020-21, we received devolution of ₹138 crore,” the state has said.
Amid the pandemic, the state has requested for early sanction of ADB loan worth ₹5,176 crore for construction of districts, sub-districts, mental, women hospitals and trauma centres. Maharashtra government has also demanded 100% contribution by the Centre in the second phase of Emergency Covid Response Package for Covid mitigation measures. The second phase, to be implemented till March 2022, costs ₹1,368 crore with the state’s share of 40%. The state wants the Centre to bear the entire cost on the lines of the first phase worth ₹1,185 crore implemented till March 21.
“The meeting has been fruitful as the members of Niti Ayog assured to take up the issues with the departments concerned,” said an official from the finance department.