Samruddhi Corridor to be named after Bal Thackeray
Former CM Devendra Fadnavis's pet project was initially supposed to be named after BJP leader and ex-PM Atal Behari Vajpayee
In a move that is bound to upset the BJP, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's cabinet on Wednesday announced its decision to name the Samruddhi Corridor between Mumbai and Nagpur after Sena founder Bal Thackeray. Former CM Devendra Fadnavis' pet project, the expressway was to be earlier dedicated to ex-PM and BJP leader Atal Behari Vajpayee. Thackeray wanted his father's name for the super communication expressway ever since it was conceived and fast-tracked by Fadnavis under the department that was then headed by Sena's Eknath Shinde. In fact, the Sena ministers who were part of the Fadnavis cabinet had suggested Sena supremo's name then too."
CM Thackeray also allotted R3,500 crore to the project which many thought would be stalled. Scrapping it was, however, not possible because at least 40 per cent work on some stretches has been completed and land has also been acquired. The additional money would help alter the financial plan of the R55,000-crore project and save at least R2,500 crore of interest. There would be no need for the government to stand guarantee for R16,500 crore, an official said.
The Shiv Sena had opposed the project when it was first launched but was convinced when its concerns were addressed and its leader was put in charge of the project. Fadnavis, however, continued to handle most matters directly through his war room. There was also a great furore over land acquisition and Sena had stepped in to resolve the matter.
Reduces commute by six hrs
The Samruddhi Corridor has been planned to ease passenger as well as commercial commute between the second capital and Mumbai. Business hubs have been planned along the access-controlled expressway so that the fast connectivity encourages investment in the underdeveloped regions of Vidarbha and Marathwada. The commute time, if travelled seamlessly, is expected to be around 8 to 10 hours instead of the 14 to 16 hours it currently takes.
Earlier, Sena had failed to name the Mumbai Pune Express Way after late Thackeray because the subsequent Congress-NCP had named if after former CM Yashwantrao Chavan. The Pune expressway was built during the Sena-BJP's first regime. Late Bal Thackeray had stood behind then PWD minister Nitin Gadkari in creating a separate entity — Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) for raising funds and implementing the road. MSRDC was separated from the Public Works Department and took up big-ticket projects like the sea link, trans-harbour link, several bridges and viaducts and expressways in the state.
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