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CM wants 'mega city' tag for Mumbai

Besieged with shortage of land and finances for city's makeover, Chavan wants Centre to act as saviour by giving infrastructural projects national status and relax CRZ norms

It appears that Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan is now using marketing tactics to woo the Central government.  It is apparent from the fact that he tried his best to sell the idea of declaring Mumbai as a 'mega city' to PM Dr Manmohan Singh, who was on a daylong state visit on Saturday.


Road to dream city: Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan tried his best to
sell the idea of coastal road as the best cost effective option, and to
buttress his claim, he put forth before the PM examples of countries
such as South Korea, Netherlands, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan.
FILE PIC


According to Chavan, once the metropolis is declared as a mega city with the tag of India's financial centre, funds from Central government would be flowing in freely, helping the state to complete the pending projects and start new ones.

If sources in the Democratic Front (DF) government are to be believed, then lack of space and paucity of funds is taking a serious toll on infrastructural projects in Mumbai. Even the ongoing ones are bearing the brunt of cash crunch, including the Metro rail project: Versova-Ghatkopar, Charkop-Bandra- Mankhurd and Colaba-Bandra-Airport corridors. Hence, PM's visit was a precious opportunity for the beleaguered DF government, to request the Centre to allow State government to reclaim land for its proposed coastal road project and seek national project status for city's five important infrastructural projects.

Before visiting the PM, Chavan had a brainstorming session with secretaries of various departments on Friday.

According to sources, the mega city tag was considered as the most viable option of seeking funds from the Central government. So far, based on certain criteria, only New Delhi has been tagged as a mega city.

CM tried his best to sell the idea of coastal roads as the best cost effective option, and to buttress his claim, he put forth before the PM examples of countries such as South Korea, Netherlands, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan. To materialise the coastal road dream, CM also pointed out that relaxation of the CRZ norms by the Centre was a must. At present, only 22 cities worldwide have met the criteria to be declared as mega cities.

One of the criteria is population over a crore.

The CM said he was sceptical about the Metro III project, connecting Colaba to the airport, due to fund shortage. If the State sticks to the coastal road plan, it will require Rs 6,000 crore with 7 km portion of reclaimed land. Without reclamation, the coastal road will be only 22 km long. With the status of mega city, the state is hoping to secure over Rs 50,000 crore from the Centre.

Most importantly, CM's demand comes soon after his meeting with Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi last Thursday and a 45-minute long meeting with PM a few days ago.

Criteria to be a mega city
>> Less amount of cultivable land
>> Population over one crore
>> City's employment rate should be extremely high

Tokyo
The biggest mega city

The projects
Five projects that the state wants to be declared as national projects:

1 MTHL connecting Sevri-Nhava Seva
-- Rs 10,000 crore

2 Navi Mumbai Airport
-- Rs 14,000 crore

3    Alibag Virar Corridor
-- Rs 10,000 crore

4    Coastal Road
-- Rs 6,000 crore

5    Mumbai Metro
-- Rs 18,000 crore

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