Mumbai: Maharashtra has completed 93 per cent of land acquisition for the 700-km Mumbai- Nagpur Expressway, according to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. “In less than 12 months, the state has acquired 93 per cent of the land needed to build the Mumbai-Nagpur 700-km super communication highway with 24 nodes or interchanges that will be developed as smart cities along its path,” American brokerage Morgan Stanley said in a note quoting the chief minister as saying. The note is based on a June 13 meeting between Fadnavis and the brokerage in New York.
According to a recent report, the state requires 8,636 hectares, including 7,290 hectares of private land for the mega expressway project which has run into a controversy due to protests against land acquisitions by various partners, including the Shiv Sena, an ally in his government. The state is targeting to issue work contracts this month and start the work after the monsoons, according to the media report.
The project is split into 16 packages and 18 companies, including Reliance Infrastructure and Larsen & Toubro among others have bid for 13 of the 16 packages. The Morgan Stanley note said unlike his predecessors, Fadnavis is focusing on Mumbai as a gateway to Maharashtra and concentrating on improving its infrastructure through projects like metro, new bridges and new airport.
It will take up to five years for the Mumbai infrastructure efforts to fructify, the chief minister said, adding the works will improve the quality of life. Fadnavis said investments in agriculture went up 30 per cent to USD 1 billion in FY18. The note said in FY19, Fadnavis expects “more upsides” on the 24 per cent growth in GST collections in FY18.
Noting the chief minister’s target to take the state GDP to USD 1 trillion by 2025, it said the share of the state in the national GDP will rise to 20 per cent from the present 15 per cent. Maharashtra will have to grow at 15 per cent per annum and will become the growth engine for the country for the next five years if the agenda goes as planned, it said.