State likely to move some townships away from Nagpur-Mumbai Eway

Nagpur: Facing stiff oppostion from few districts in Konkan region, Maharashtra government may move away some townships planned along the ambitious Rs 40,000-crore Nagpur-Mumbai Super Communication Expressway. A senior cabinet minister requesting anonymity said, “The preliminary report indicates that we may have to shift at least two nodes (townships) from the present location. But overall, it does not alter the design and alignment of the project.” A total of 25 nodes (townships) have been planned across the 706-km stretch between Nagpur and Mumbai. The project, also called the Maharashtra Samruddhi Corridor, encompasses 25 townships and eight-lane roads between Nagpur and Mumbai. It is expected to be completed within 36 months from its commencement.

A pet project of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the Corridor has adopted the land pooling method. However, it has also given the option of direct cash compensation to farmers opposed to the pooling model. The minister said that only eight per cent of the 10,463 hectares of land required for the project comes in the category of agriculture/forest. The project corridor includes amenities such as info-tech hubs, logistic parks, agriculture hubs, industrial hubs, educational hubs, medical hubs, smart cities and resorts etc. The government has allocated Rs 1,200 crore for the development of the townships.

Of the total 10,463 hectares of land required for the project, 9,500 hectares is private land and 963 hectares is government and partly forest land. It will be implemented through a special purpose vehicle (SPV), which would be a subsidiary of the MSRDC. A source said, “The government will enter into a concession agreement with the SPV in line with the model concession agreement of NHAI.”

Apart from reducing the travel time between Nagpur and Mumbai from 16-18 hours to 8 hours, the project seeks to promote multiple agro-industries by providing growth centres in each nodes (townships). A senior officer said, “The Maharashtra Samrudhhi Corridor with eight-lane roads and 25 nodes will become the first agriculture-industrial-infrastructure model project. Every node has been designed keeping the geographical and agriculture requirements of the area in mind, and all the 25 will have easy access to ports.”