Pawar warns against any proposal to stall Mumbai Port's expansion

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Mumbai, Sep 21 (UNI) Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar today warned that any proposal to stall expansion plans of the Mumbai Port would have disastrous consequences for Maharashtra.

Addressing a meeting of Mumbai NCP workers here, Mr Pawar said there was a proposal that Mumbai Port's expansion plans be stopped in order to decongest the city and the land belonging to the Port Trust be released for development projects like housing.

''I am told that some Maharashtra government officials were also present at such a meeting. If the state government is mulling over such a proposal, then the NCP would oppose it tooth and nail,'' he said.

''Mr Pawar said he spoke to Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia on the issue and he also assured that nothing would be done to harm the Port.'' ''For housing, there are thousands of acres of salt pan land in and around Mumbai,'' he added.

Mr Pawar said the importance of Mumbai's port, its textile and engineering industry and international airport had slowly been reduced. Earlier, it was because of them that Mumbai's stature as a trade and commerce centre grew.

''The textile and engineering industry in the city has been completely devastated. The importance of international airport is also slowly diminishing because direct international flights have started coming to many smaller cities. But, the airport continues to grow because of Mumbai's status as a financial capital of the country and attracts many people to the city,'' he added.

UNI

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