Nagpur: Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today defended his proposal to form a Prime Minister-led special committee on development of Mumbai even as he underscored that the city is an "integral part" of the state.

Joining a debate initiated by the Leader of Opposition and NCP leader Dhananjay Munde in the Upper House, Fadnavis said Mumbai is the "pride" of Maharashtra and his government will try to make the city the "pride" of the world.

Devendra Fadnavis

"Mumbai belongs to Maharashtra and no one can separate it from the state. We are committed to developing the city by all means and by making quick decisions. We want support of all beyond politics to achieve this purpose," the CM said downplaying the criticism triggered by his announcement to set up the special panel.

Opposition parties had termed the move as a "ploy" to separate Mumbai from the state, prompting NCP chief Sharad Pawar to write a letter to the Prime Minister wherein he said the proposal "certainly appears to be an attempt to wrest control" of the poll-bound Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

Fadnavis said Mumbai has its own identity that needs to be protected in any case. "We want to develop infrastructure of Mumbai besides the quality of life (in the city). It is necessary because we want to create an atmosphere conducive for attracting global
investment," he said, adding the city could attract investment if it had the best infrastructure in place.

About the proposed committee on Mumbai, he said, "We have just requested the prime minister (to head it). This arrangement (setting up of the committee) will ensure fast clearance of issues pertaining to Mumbai. It will facilitate in fast tracking inter-ministerial permissions (needed) from the Central government."

Raising objection to the proposed panel, Congress leader Manikrao Thakre said, "When the chief minister can head such a body why he wants the Prime Minister to head it?" To this, Fadnavis retorted, "Prime Minister can head any committee or body.... Can't he come to Mumbai? (Objection) to setting up of the special committee is akin to attack on the federal structure of the country."

He said the state government was trying to run local trains in Mumbai on the lines of Metro trains. "There is a proposal (to run) closed door local trains in Mumbai. Government will launch a pilot project for running closed door trains on Harbour line. And if it turns out to be successful, we will implement it on other lines (Central and Western) in Mumbai," he said.

The CM said the second phase of Metro from Wadala to Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk will be completed by September 2015. However, Munde described the CM's reply as "unsatisfactory, non-comprehensive and lacking of vision."