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Thursday, Dec 12, 2019

‘Infra projects won’t be scrapped, only prioritised’: CM Uddhav Thackeray

There was speculation that the new Maharashtra government, which has a debt more than Rs 6 lakh crore, could stay work on the 701-km Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway, which was former chief minister Fadnavis’s pet project.

mumbai Updated: Dec 04, 2019 09:48 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray speaks to media, in Mumbai on Tuesday, Dec 3, 2019.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray speaks to media, in Mumbai on Tuesday, Dec 3, 2019.(ANI )
         

Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday reviewed several ongoing infrastructure projects in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra and said his government will prioritise them on the basis of the funds available with the state. Thackeray clarified that the government has no plans to stop work on any of the projects initiated during Devendra Fadnavis’s regime.

Thackeray, along with senior ministers Eknath Shinde, Subhash Desai, Chhagan Bhujbal and Jayant Patil, reviewed projects worth around Rs 2.43 lakh crore. These included the 14 Metro lines in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), the Mumbai-Nagpur expressway (Samruddhi Mahamarg), the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL), the Versova-Bandra sea link and the Navi Mumbai International Airport, among others.

“We took a review of the projects and none of them have been stayed or scrapped. Instead, we discussed how these projects can be expedited,” said Thackeray after the meeting at Mantralaya.

According to a senior state government official, who did not wish to be named, the chief minister sought details of the estimated costs of the projects, payments made for the project and availability of funds for completing the projects. “The projects will be prioritised based on the funds available with government and the project’s benefits to locals. None of the ongoing projects have been stayed,” the official said.

There was speculation that the government, which has a debt more than Rs 6 lakh crore, could stay work on the 701-km Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway, which was former chief minister Fadnavis’s pet project.

However, Shinde, who headed Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) in the previous government, said the project is “still alive”.

“Funding for no infrastructure projects will be stopped,” said Shinde.

The Rs 55,000-crore expressway project requires a loan of Rs 25,000 crore. The chief minister, according to an official present at the meeting, said the project “should bring prosperity in the lives of farmers who have given up their farmlands for the construction”.

Meanwhile, Patil said the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train project was not discussed at the meeting.

Thackeray, who had earlier declared that the project would be reviewed, said, “No decision has been taken yet on the bullet train... No projects have been scrapped… work on only the car shed [for Metro-3] in Aarey [Milk Colony] has been stayed.”