Need quick solution for cases linked to infra projects, says Devendra Fadnavis
Referring to the Metro project, Fadnavis told the council that the project saw a delay of almost nine months owing to litigation, which led to a cost escalation of about ₹1,000 crore in the project.Updated: Jun 20, 2019 01:46 IST
The state government is considering a way to ensure time-bound resolution of court cases surrounding big-ticket public infrastructure projects, such as the coastal road or Metro project, in a manner that does not infringe on the powers of the judiciary, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said in the state legislature on Wednesday.
Addressing the legislative Council, Fadnavis said, “We will examine the issue. I will tell the law and judiciary to do so. Without infringing on any powers of the judiciary, if we can come up with a way and decide that any public projects costing more than ₹100 crore and are stuck in litigation can be resolved in a time-bound manner and court can give speedy decisions. For example, if the court can give its judgment in three months...This will help check cost escalation. When projects are delayed due to litigation, our losses per day amount to lakhs of rupees, and per month amount to crores of rupees.”
Referring to the Metro project, Fadnavis told the council that the project saw a delay of almost nine months owing to litigation, which led to a cost escalation of about ₹1,000 crore in the project.
He said, “One litigation regarding the Metro project said ‘do not work in the night’, while the other said that ‘do not work in the day’. So if we can come up with a way to have time-bound resolution of such court cases, it will help expedite the project.”
The chief minister was replying to a supplementary question regarding the coastal road project. Rahul Narvekar, an NCP legislator, asked if the government has plans to check cost escalation of big-ticket projects owing to delay in resolving litigation.
This has not gone well with citizens.
D Stalin, director of NGO Vanashakti, who is one of the petitioners in the high court against the coastal road project, said, “This is a way for the chief minister to send a message to the court that they should not delay cases regarding such projects. But the judges also already know the importance of such projects for the city.”
Stalin said the state needs to make sure it does all the leg-work on a project, which will prevent litigation in the first place. “If all things are done properly at planning stage, citizens will not have complaints against projects and will not have to approach courts,” he said.
Fadnavis also informed the Council that none of the fishermen living and fishing along the west coast of Mumbai will be affected by the project. He said, “The tribunal gave directions to the government to compensate persons affected by the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link project (MTHL). Some directives will be used to compensate and rehabilitate any people whose traditional occupation is affected by a big-ticket project. So far, we have not encountered a situation where we need to compensate fishermen.”
Fadnavis told the council that 12 of the 29 koliwadas of the city have been demarcated. The state government may hire more staff to speed up the demarcation process. Meanwhile, to kickstart the much awaited Ro-Ro service between Mumbai and Alibaug, the state government is contemplating purchasing a vessel.
Fadnavis told the legislative council on Wednesday, “We have decided that four or five departments of the state can pitch in money. We will purchase a vessel and start the service. We already have infrastructure in place. The service has not started because the issue is stuck in litigation.”