Nagpur: The bhoomipujan of the Rs46,000 crore Nagpur-Mumbai communication super expressway will be held in January 2018. The function was slated to be held in October but was delayed due to land acquisition problems.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis told the media on Sunday that land was not a problem anymore for the project. “Half of the land required will be acquired by us by October end or November 15 at the most. District collectors have given me extremely positive reports. The remaining half will be acquired by December,” he added.
According to Fadnavis, South Korean government was ready to finance the project. “A special purpose vehicle needs to be formed between Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) and Korea Expressway Corporation (KEC) for planning and execution of the expressway. The SPV will be formed by December end,” he said, adding that Indian banks were equally eager to finance the project.
The total land requirement for the project is 9,364 hectares out which 8,531 hectares are privately held while 833 hectares belong to the state government. So far, only around 7 to 8% of private land has been acquired.
The government is facing strongest opposition from land owners in Nashik district, where three crops are grown in a year. Opposition parties and BJP’s ally Shiv Sena have supported farmers protesting acquisition of their lands. The farmers want their land to be acquired through the Land Acquisition Act, 2013. MSRDC should pay them five times the market rate and not the ready reckoner rate, which is much lower.
The state government has assured bankers that no work order will be given until 90 per cent of land is acquired for the project. Last month, Fadnavis had invited banks, government as well as private, for discussing loans for the project. The bankers were afraid that if the project ran into land acquisition problems it could lead to major cost escalation as has happened in the past.