Nagpur/Mumbai: Ambititious Nagpur-Mumbai Express way has been pushed to much of the discussion these days as it is considered as the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ pet project. The latest development in the project is that Fadnavis has unveiled a detailed plan for the Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expressway, a 706-km link that seeks to connect 24 districts and improve access from rural communities in the east to commercial hubs in the west.
The highway, which will have at least three lanes on each side, will reduce travel time between the two cities from 12-16 hours to sixeight hours. The Rs 46,000-crore project, formally called ‘Maharashtra Prosperity Corridor’, also involves construction of agricultural centres, warehouses and other facilities that the state hopes will lead to creation of thousands of new jobs. The facilities will be set up near several nodes planned on the route.
“If the project is completed within a reasonable time, Maharashtra will be 20 years ahead of other states,” Fadnavis said.
According to the plan shared on Friday, the construction will begin in January next year and end in October 2019, a schedule officials may struggle to meet because of land disputes that generally plague major road projects. Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) is the implementing agency for the project.
Officials said securing land would not been an issue as the state had decided not to follow the tricky acquisition scheme, which invariably gets stuck over the compensation rate. The government will instead follow a land pooling model, in which farmers will be made partners and a certain percentage of the developed land will be given back to them.
This is the first time Maharashtra will obtain space through land pooling. In such a system, farmers and plot owners transfer land ownership rights to the government or a single agency, which develops the space by building roads and other infrastructure. It then returns a small portion to the owners, who benefit from the higher market value of developed land.
Fadnavis said land pooling was already being followed by the Andhra government to acquire land for its new capital, Amaravati.
The super expressway, which will pass through 10 districts, will need 8,520 hectares of land, while amenities planned along the stretch will require 1,500 hectares. Node development will require 10,800 hectares.