Maharashtra seeks Rs 25,000-crore for infra development

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New Delhi, Dec 19 (UNI) Maharashtra government, which has decided to use the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model in a bigger way to boost infrastructure development in the state, has projected a requirement of Rs 25,000 crore in the 11th plan for the purpose.

Urging the Central government to increase viability gap funding for such projects in the Union Budget, State Chief Minister Vilasraso Deshmukh today said execution of many such projects in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), would require expeditious forest, enviornmental and coastal regulation zone clearances from the Centre.

Addressing the 54th meeting of the National Development Council (NDC) here, he also focussed on the plight of irrigation projects in the Naxal-affected districts of Gadchiroli, Chanderpur and Gondia, saying practically all such projects were held for want of Central clearance. The forest cover in these districts was much higher than the national average, he said.

Another factor hindering irrigation projects in these areas was higher compensation package of Rs nine to ten lakh per hectare of forest land to be diverted for such projects, he added.

The Chief Minister disclosed that as many as 37 major and medium irrigation projects in Vidarbha region were held up for want of forest and enviornmental clearance by the Centre.

Seeking Railways' approval for the Rs 4,500-crore second phase of Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP), he said railway projects should also be covered under the viability gap funding scheme of the Union Finance Ministry because it was beyond the capacity of state governments to meet railways' demand for 50 per cent share of cost.

''Railway networks should be opened for development on PPP basis," he added.

Focussing on the urgency, Mr Deshmukh said Mumbai's suburban rail network, which carries 60 lakh passangers daily, was severely overcrowded with each train carrying 5,000 passangers as against a capacity of 1,700 passangers. The system carries 16 passengers per square metre, he added quoting a recent study.

UNI

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