By Dilip Chaware
Chief minister Eknath Shinde and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadanvis have been going ahead with taking landmark decisions to strengthen infrastructure development across the state. Their initial thrust is on improving road connectivity, completing metro rail projects forthwith and speed up rail links which have been in demand for decades.
Charging earlier Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government of lethargy and favouring only a few pockets for development, Shinde and Fadanvis have cleared several projects, running into thousands of crores of rupees. A highlight of the plethora of the decisions is to pump in around Rs.40,000 crore in modernising the power sector in the state. Maharashtra’s power consumption is the highest among all the states in the country. However, its electricity losses, too, are astounding. The plans aims at plugging such weak links in the sector.
Another important decision is to elevate controversial IAS officer Radheshyam Mopalwar and place him in the chief minister office (CMO). Though castigated for alleged malpractices, Mopalwar has received five extensions after his retirement as vice president and managing director of the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC). Mega projects like the Mumbai—Nagpur Samruddhi Expressway costing around Rs.55,000 crore are being developed by MSRDC. Mopalwar has been connected with it since day one. Now Mopalwar will be director-general in the War Room for infrastructure projects in CMO. Thus, he will be able to oversee the progress of various important projects throughout the state. They will include the Bandra-Versova Sea Link in Mumbai, the third bridge on Vashi Creek, linking Mumbai with the mainland and developing certain sections of the famous Mumbai-Pune Expressway.
Several irrigation projects, too, are going to be expedited by the alliance government. They include completion of the unfinished works at the Bhatsa dam, which is one of the suppliers of water to Mumbai. This work will need Rs.1550 crore. The Waghur irrigation project in north Maharashtra has been awaiting infusion of funding for decades. Rs.2290 crore has been sanctioned for it. More such announcements are expected in the near future.
A veteran journalist, formerly Special Correspondent, The Times of India, Mumbai.