Mumbai: The State government’s land acquisition drive for the proposed 700-kilometre Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway is behind schedule. Even though a report from the global consultancy firm, Morgan Stanley, this week, claimed the State has acquired 93% of the land needed for the project, data from the Revenue department shows only 77% of the 7,298 hectares of land has been taken over and sale deeds signed.
The government has suffered a delay because of the slow progress on the mutation of the 7/12 extracts of the land and acquisition of another 1,338 ha from State-run institutions.
The State has now set a target to complete 85% of acquisition and sign sale deeds by June 30.
“The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) is raising the finance by securitising the land. We have also directed the additional chief secretary (revenue) to expedite the 7/12 mutation,” an official of the Chief Minister’s Office said.
While giving the thumbs up to infrastructure development, the Morgan Stanley report claimed in less than 12 months, the State has acquired 93% of the land along with land for 24 nodes or interchanges, which will be developed as smart cities along its path.
“The eight-lane highway runs through Maharashtra’s major industrial sites and is likely to be completed in less than two years. According to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the highway will set the stage to transfer economic prosperity from the State’s major industrial zones to the hinterland,” the report said.
However, data obtained by The Hindu shows the 93% mark has only been achieved in and around Nagpur. In the other nine districts, the drive to acquire land is lagging with Thane being worst at 493 ha or 67% of the land needed to be acquired.
The maximum land has been acquired in Aurangabad and Buldhana with 1,218 ha and 1,137 ha. The acquisition has reached 202 ha in Nagpur, 601 ha in Wardha, 804 ha in Amravati, 988 ha in Washim, 435 ha in Jalna, 312 ha in Ahmednagar, and 1,108 ha in Nashik.
The expressway, also called Samruddhi Corridor, is estimated to cost ₹46,000 crore, of which the Asian Development Bank is expected to provide ₹13,750 crore. Close to ₹24,000 crore is needed for civil construction, while the rest is to be spent on land acquisition, development of nodes, contingencies and financial charges, and utility shifting.
The government has already formed a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the project. Formed under the Companies Act, 1956, the SPV is to be a subsidiary of the MSRDC, the executing body. The Shiv Sena has opposed the land acquisition, calling it forced and unfair.