State demands Rs 4,200 crore from Centre to complete infra projects

In an angry letter sent to Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, the state has demanded Rs 4,200 crore pending from the central government for various infrastructure projects

The Maharashtra government has shot off an angry letter to the Centre, demanding release of pending funds for major infrastructure projects in Mumbai and across the state, or share responsibility if the works are shelved in the future.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis handed over the letter demanding pending funds to Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on November 10. File pics

The letter was handed over by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to Union Urban Development minister M Venkaiah Naidu in New Delhi on November 10.

The Centre owes the state nearly Rs 4,200 crore for major infrastructure projects, including those related to strengthening of the storm water disposal system of Greater Mumbai, and the ambitious Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project.

Most of these projects have begun and some are in the advanced stages and are nearing completion. The state fears that the absence of funds could lead to their cancellation.

“The Centre, in March this year, decided to not release further funds on the grounds that the project period has come to an end. Such a decision is badly affecting the ongoing projects and it is very difficult for the state government to bear this additional financial burden,” the state noted.

Of the total amount, Rs 200 crore is pending for projects in Mumbai under BRIMSTOWAD (Brihanmumbai Storm Water Disposal System). The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has already submitted utilisation certificates for the works amounting to R200 crore but the money has been held back.

Another Rs 1,017 crore is awaited under the Jawaharlal National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), proposed to help urban local bodies in enhancing urban infrastructure. The state had noted in its letter that despite completion of 103 of the 189 projects, the centre has only released Rs 6,593 crore of the promised Rs 7,614 crore.

Some of these projects have been cancelled already because of non-availability of funds. “Some of these projects were sanctioned under the transition phase, but were cancelled without release of funds.

As the projects were sanctioned by the Ministry of Urban Deve-lopment Department, project activities have already been initiated by the Urban Local Bodies. Therefore, non-sanction of grants at this stage and cancellation of projects would be a major setback to the state,” the state government noted.

Another Rs 3,000 crore is expected from the Centre as part payment of land acquisition for phase-1 of Shendra -Bidkin Industrial Park, an extended part of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor.

The state has categorically told the Centre that if the money is not transferred, the state will not transfer all of its acquired land to the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation, Government of India.

“The total contribution expected from the DMIC Trust is Rs 3,000 crore towards the equity participation of the special purpose vehicle, but DMIC Trust has agreed to contribute only R250 crore. If DMIC Trust has not contributed Rs 3,000 crore, the entire land cannot be transferred,” the state noted.

The brimstowad project
The Brihanmumbai Storm Water Disposal System was recommended by the state-appointed Chitale committee after the July 2005 deluge. Estimated to cost Rs 1,200 crore at the time, 30 per cent of the funding for it was to come from the Centre.

The project entailed widening and deepening of nullahs and augmentation of the city’s storm water drain network from a capacity of carrying 25 mm of rain-water to 50 mm. It also involved widening, clean-ing and deepening of the Mithi River in two phases. The BMC and MMRDA, together, have nearly completed this project.

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