Regional Politics Threaten To Derail Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway Project
The Maharashtra government’s ambitious 700 km Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway has triggered protests in several regions of the state. The flagship project of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the Maharashtra Samrudhhi Expressway aims to connect the state capital of Mumbai with its winter capital, Nagpur.
Farmers, allegedly backed by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar have raised objections to the land acquisition. Government officials say that the project, which would give the entire state’s economy a fillip by providing connectivity to Vidharbha and Marathawada — two backward regions in the state, is being hijacked by politicians with vested interests from western Maharashtra. Senior officials have claimed that politicians from the Mumbai-Pune region and their proxies are trying to throw a spanner into the wheel of the project.
A former NCP legislator said that both incumbent as well as former politicians want the project to be completed as it would benefit the long neglected eastern half of the state.
The 700 km long expressway will cost the state Rs 46,000 crore and will be executed by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) that had also executed the Mumbai-Pune Expressway in the late 1990s.