Published On : Tue, Dec 13th, 2016

Nagpur – Mumbai super highway en route to making officers rich

nugpur-mumbaiNagpur: The 710 Kms proposed Nagpur – Mumbai highway has been painted by none other than C.M. Fadnavis as the cure for all farmers’ issues of Vidarbha. Plus development of Vidarbha itself.

“This super highway that will connect Nagpur to Mumbai in just 8 hours will be a boon to Vidarbha farmers who can then transport their produce, like oranges, very easily to Mumbai markets and fetch a great price” he has expressed many times.

Hence this road has also been dubbed – Samrudhi Mahamarg. ( Road to prosperity).

Land bought by officers in name of relatives

Whether it will be blessing for farmers is yet to be seen, but this super highway has already cleared way for some Maharashtra government officers to become rich – very rich!

The ‘shetkari sangharsha samiti’ that has been fighting land acquisition for this highway and the ‘townships’ that are proposed along its perimeter, have alleged that many officers who had inside information about this project have already bought up huge tracts of lands by the sides of this highway. As is the norm in such cases of corruption, most of the purchases have been done in the names of their close relatives.

Papers regarding such purchases, including ‘sat- bara’ are available with the ‘samiti’ it is stated.

More about the super highway

The highway will pass through 10 districts of Maharashtra — Nagpur, Wardha, Amravati, Washim, Buldhana, Jalna, Aurangabad, Nashik and Thane.

Apart from reducing the travel time between Nagpur-Mumbai from 16 hours to eight hours, the project is being evolved to develop 22 districts including the drought-hit region.

The design includes 24 townships along the stretch for which Rs 12,000 crore will be provided. The project also aims to bring agro-industrial development along these nodes.

The nodes will have agro-industries related infrastructure, ITI centres and markets.

800 acres of adjacent land bought

It is alleged that officers who were in the know of this ambitious project have already bought over 800 acres of farm land by the sides of this highway.

The reason was obvious – as soon as the highway becomes operational land cost by its sides will go up exorbitantly.

What with the the townships and industrial estates slated to come up along the highway, demand will rise and land will get dear.

What is most suspicious is that the purchases were made before the details of the project were announced to the public or permissions were obtained from concerned departments. But details were definitely known to the senior officers themselves who were part of the planning.

A senior bureaucrat who is part of the C.M.’s office has bought 350 acres in the name of his brother in law.

Some officers of Konkan, and seniors of Thane Municipal Corporation are also alleged to be other ‘beneficiaries’.

This land has been bought in the Shahpur taluka of Thane District.

The land was bought even before permissions were obtained from concerned departments it is learnt.

These charges have been leveled by Baban Harde, leader of the Shetkari Sangharsh Samiti.

Harde says in a meeting with the C.M. he had proposed that instead of acquiring new land for the highway which would mean farmers losing thousands of more land, the already running Mumbai-Nasik highway should be made 6 lane and incorporated in the super highway.

The C.M., Harde said was open to this suggestion but M.D. of MHRDC Radheshyam Mopalwar and Secretary PWD Ashish Singh completely ignored it, since it may have disrupted ‘their planning’!

No such complaint has come to me, says Fadnavis

Even as Harde claims that a petition has been made to the C.M. to look into these serious charges, Fadnavis says he is not yet aware of any such purchases made by his officers.

“I will definitely look into the matter, and if true, guilty will not be spared. Their plans of getting rich from lands purchased by them will also not materialize since we propose giving developed land back to farmers for commercial use.

If purchases indeed have been made, we will also investigate the source of funding” assures the C.M.

Sunita Mudliyar- Associate Editor