Fadnavis government’s pet projects face hurdles
Even as chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is eyeing to complete many of the big-ticket infrastructure projects before 2019 Assembly elections, several of them are facing stiff resistance from locals. Farmers are vehemently opposing the land acquisition for key projects including Mumbai-Nagpur Super Expressway, proposed airport in Purandar in Pune and Virar Alibaug Multi-modal Corridor.
Farmers from Shahapur in Thane and Nashik have aggressively opposed to give away their land for the Rs46,000 crore Mumbai-Nagpur Super-communication Expressway. The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) needs 20,820 hectare land. The land to be acquired from Thane and Nashik is 2,000 hectares. “Some landowners are still not willing to participate in the land-pooling, but we are sure that eventually when they see the benefit they will agree,” said a senior MSRDC official.
To make it worse, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said his party will ensure that their fertile land will not be taken away for the project. MSRDC officials, however, have claimed that the alignment is fixed and a detailed project report is being prepared according to it.
In Purandar in Pune, seven villages are opposing the proposed airport. The 126-km-long Virar Alibaug Multi-modal Corridor (VAMC) is facing a similar fate. It passes through 32 villages and the total land required for the project is 583 hectare, out of which 180 hectare is forest land.
“Since it is a 100-metre-wide right of way, many survey numbers are affected. Primarily we are getting objections from these landowners,” said Uma Adusumilli, chief, planning division of Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).
The rising resistance to the pet project of the Fadanvis government could prove embarrassing for it while facing the 2019 elections.
Pankaj Joshi, urban planner said the government needs to reinforce the process of public discussion, consultation before going ahead on a project. “There needs to be larger discussion with the local communities on reforms. If a road project is cutting across plots of 100 people with a population of 5,000, the government should reorganise the land parcels in such a manner that losses are reduced to minimum possible amount,” Joshi told HT.
When asked, chief secretary Swadhin Kshatriya denied that the projects are stuck in opposition. “The information that our projects are facing resistance is wrong,” Kashatriya told HT. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis remained unavailable for comment.