Other States

Nothing political about meeting Prasad Lad, says Ajit Pawar

Ajit Pawar

Ajit Pawar   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

Deputy CM also says Pune-Mumbai hyperloop ‘not feasible’

A hush-hush meeting between Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLC Prasad Lad in Pune on Friday raised eyebrows, even as Mr. Pawar sought to downplay its significance.

Mr. Lad, who is also the vice-president of the BJP’s State unit, conferred with the National Congress Party (NCP) leader for more than half an hour.

Later, speaking to reporters, Mr. Pawar said thre as no political angle to the meeting. “There is no need to attach any meaning to our meeting … several leaders from other parties keep meeting me regarding projects or work,” the Deputy Chief Minister said.

Mr. Lad, considered to be a confidante of former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, is believed to have played a pivotal role at the time of Mr. Pawar’s temporary defection to join hands with the BJP last year.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Chief Minister, who is also Pune’s Guardian Minister, chaired a series of meetings to fast-track pending projects like the Pune Metro. Determined to wrest his ‘lost bastion’ of Pimpri-Chinchwad from the BJP, Mr. Pawar has been holding meetings for the past week with civic officials and taking snap decisions to regain his party’s fortunes by expediting major development works.

On Friday, he said the ambitious Pune-Mumbai hyperloop project, which could be to be the first operational high-speed hyperloop line in the world, was “not feasible”.

It was a pet project of the Fadnavis-led government, which had approved the Virgin Hyperloop One-led consortium’s plans for the high-speed line between Mumbai and Pune last year. The project is estimated to cost $10 billion.

“This is a still-untested mode of transportation … it has not been tried anywhere in the world. I doubt if we have the capacity for a trial here. First, let there be a 10-km hyperloop in some other part of the world … if it is successful there, only then shall we think about its possible implementation here,” said Mr. Pawar.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 7:47:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/nothing-political-about-meeting-lad-says-ajit-pawar/article30590194.ece

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