Regime change triggers concerns over future of big-ticket projects

Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi likely to divert funds to universal farm loan waiver scheme

While the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) of the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Shiv Sena has farmers’ welfare at its core, the parties are reviewing other schemes initiated by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi has discussed the possibilities of diverting funds for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train project towards a universal farm loan waiver scheme. “We have discussed the possibilities of diverting the State’s share — ₹5,000 crore — towards the farm loan waiver. The State does not need such grandiose projects but development of its poor and underprivileged,” said an NCP leader.

Outgoing Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said he would continue to look after existing projects and the interest of the common man from the Opposition benches. “We will continue to further projects of interest of the people,” he said.

Following his resignation, many have expressed fears of the beginning of vendetta politics. “Whoever in Maharashtra is the next CM, I hope the Metro work does not stop. Please,” author Devdutt Pattanaik tweeted.

Among key projects likely to come under the scope of a review is the multi-crore Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi Mahamarg. The project worth ₹46,000 crore is slated to reduce the travel time between the two cities from 18 hours to eight. The project has faced allegations of corruption with regard to land acquisition.

“There is a likely involvement of some bureaucrats close to Mr. Fadnavis in the alleged illegalities in the project. If the new alliance wishes to start on a vengeful note, this is the first project they would like to conduct a post-mortem on,” said a senior IPS officer.

The environmental impact of Metro works may also face a review even as construction is set to continue at a normal pace, experts said.

Under scrutiny

“These projects will continue but it is their financial and environmental aspects which will face scrutiny. I am hopeful that vendetta politics will not start from the word go,” said Surendra Jondhale, political analyst and political science professor at Mumbai University.

Six Metro corridors are at different stages of completion in the city. Metro Line 2A and 7 have completed around 75% of their civil works, while Metro Line 3 has completed 70% of its tunnelling. The Metro 3 project has been at the centre of a vociferous protest over the construction of a car shed in Aarey colony.

Yuva Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray had openly backed the Save Aarey movement, but he did not get any support from the BJP. “The Sena has felt most insulted from the rebuff it received at the hand of the BJP-leaning bureaucrats during the Aarey protests. These officers will surely face the brunt of a tit-for-tat politics,” said a government officer.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 5:52:43 AM |

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