Maharashtra CM dreams of Cong-NCP victory

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Mumbai, Oct 30: Commencement of the USD 60 billion Mumbai Makeover dream project and earmarking of Rs 7,000 crore irrigation projects are the biggest achievements of the Congress-NCP government, said Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who will complete four years in the office tomorrow.

In an interview to UNI, Mr Deshmukh said while his government had achieved this target in the last four years, his next target would be to win both Lok Sabha and assembly elections due next year.

Mr Deshmukh said the total plan of the entire Mumbai Metropolitan Region including Mumbai, Thane and Raigad districts had been prepared. It included metro rail, mono rail, skywalk and over bridges. The implementation of some of these projects had already started.

''Power crunch is a major problem for us, as we could not add to the power generation capacity in the last nine years beyond activation of the Ratnagiri Gas Power Project Ltd. It is generating nearly 2,000 MW power. Going by the situation of RGPPL, the State Electricity Board is interested in taking over the project,'' Mr Deshmukh said.

The controversial Enron power project never generated project to its full capacity and even now one of its units is not functioning due to technical problems.

''But we will overcome this crisis also as several projects are in the pipeline. It will add 7,000 MW by 2012 to bring Maharashtra, which is right now facing the power shortage from 3,000 to 5,000 MW, out of power crunch,'' he informed.

Mr Deshmukh said the government had earmarked Rs 7,000 crore for irrigation projects and also started giving loans at Rs four per cent interest to women's self-help groups. These are the other major achievements of his government, he said.

The Chief Minister said the state government had signed 95 memoranda of understandings (MoUs) with several companies in the last four years with an investment of Rs 1.35 lakh crore. He said the state has the highest number of special economic zones in the country, with 131 being approved and land acquired, and an investment of Rs 1.25 lakh crore is expected.

Maharashtra was in the news for the farmers' suicides for the last several years. But Mr Deshmukh said prompt action by the government to provide loans at Rs six per cent interest to the farmers and the approval of irrigation projects had satisfied the farmers and the issue is not that grave.

Asked about the collective responsibility and coordination problems that he is facing while running a coalition government, he said while running a coalition government, the collective responsibility becomes lesser and individual responsibility as well as loyalty to the party boss gets more priority.

''The one-party rule is different and coalition is different, in which many things had to be adjusted as per the demands of coalition,'' he added.

His answer holds truth considering that there is lack of coordination even among the ministers of Congress party, with the case in point is revenue minister Narayan Rane, who was at loggerheads with Mr Deshmukh on several occasions.


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