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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Maha ‘Vikas’ Aghadi or Anti Vikas Aghadi ?: MVA govt stalls BIG Ticket Infrastructure Projects & stumps Maharashtra’s Growth

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When a government assumes power, people have bare minimum expectations from it. The primary one is to preserve the law and order, take care of people’s welfare, and develop the infrastructure of the state. Two years ago, when the Shiv Sena, the Congress, and the NCP formed an unexpected alliance in Maharashtra, they called it the ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’, a minimum common program was also created and it was propagated as if now Maharashtra will be developed like anything.

However, since this government has been formed we are only witnessing unruliness, lethargy, infighting, and whatnot. Many ministers of the government are in jail, many are facing serious cases, the government continues to be accused of committing heinous crimes like siding with the mafia, making illegal collections, mismanaging the COVID pandemic, and halting infrastructure projects.

The MVA has completely failed to deliver on the promises made in the Common Minimum Programme (CMP). The Uddhav Thackeray-led government is halting the progress of public projects as if they have some personal grudge with the people of Maharashtra.

This government has stopped projects like the Marathwada water grid project, drought-related projects, and national drinking water scheme. There were various projects for which tenders were issued already but the MVA government has stopped such projects too. Instead of working on the project, the MVA govt ministers are spreading wrong information about them and creating a panic among the public.

Mumbai – Ahmedabad Bullet Train’s C2 Tunnel Tender Cancelled

In an unprecedented turn of events, India’s National High-Speed Rail Corporation Ltd. (NHSRCL) has canceled the tendering process to construct 20.377 km Package C-2 of the 508.17 km Mumbai – Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail (MAHSR Bullet Train) project.

Underground Package C2 of the mainline connects Bandra Kurla Complex Station (chainage Km 0.773) with Shilphata (Km 21.150) and consists of roughly 3 km “undersea” twin tunnels below Thane Creek. The appointed contractor will be required to use at least 3 Mega TBMs with a diameter of roughly 14.5 meters.

Picture Credit – NHSRCL

No official reasoning has been provided although industry sources tell me it’s tied to land acquisition for the TBM shafts, especially the Bandra Kurla Complex Station’s land where a pop-up COVID hospital was built in 2020.

Mumbai Metro Phase-3 Delayed

The Mumbai Metro Phase-3 has been delayed due to removing the car shed from Aarey. The work was stopped for Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ underground Metro line as well, and this led to consequences like the loss of jobs for those involved in executing the work, and unprecedented inconvenience to the people, who are not getting a convenient and cost-effective mode of transport.

Picture Credit – The Federal.com

The cost of the underground Metro-3 project has already escalated by over Rs 10,000 crore to Rs 33,406 crore from the original estimate of Rs 23,136 crore in 2011. Even after that, the MVA government is not showing any sort of urgency in approving the escalated cost. The controversial deadlock over finalizing a location for a car shed for the line has compounded the financial mess.

Mumbai Metro Phase4 – Alstom Cancels Coach Contract

In another unfortunate development, Alstom Transport India has terminated its contract to design and supply 234 metro coaches for Mumbai Metro’s under construction 35.2 km Line-4 & 4A (Green Line) due to uncertainty over the line’s depot whose location hasn’t been finalized by the MVA government.

Picture Credit – Money Control

Alstom representative confirmed that “Following signing of Letter of Acceptance (LoA) for Rolling Stock of Mumbai Line 4 in March 2021, there have been overall challenges in progressing with project execution due to delays on various fronts, including civil work. Alstom engaged with relevant stakeholders to find a possible resolution. After exhausting all avenues, the decision has been taken not to proceed with this contract”.

Well, here we can see how the MVA government is sabotaging the big-ticket infrastructure project in Maharashtra. Don’t you think this will give a negative impression to the investors who are planning to put their money here?

The MVA government is led by Uddhav Thackeray but ultimately it is the NCP and the Congress who are running the show, and both are known for halting the infrastructure development projects, sometimes in the name of environmental clearance or corruption.

Something similar happened in 2010 when Reliance was given the contract to construct L2 for MMRDA. For the next 4 years, the MMRDA couldn’t get clearances and the designated land for setting up a depot. A complete dejected Reliance walked out of this project in 2014, as they were unable to get any support from the then Congress government.

Now it’s quite clear that it’s a ‘Maha Vinash Aghadi‘, which has a sole motto of delaying the projects and creating an environment of destabilization in the state. However, they are not understanding that such tactics will only harm the state in the long run.

However, nobody knows how to wake up the MVA government which is in deep slumber, and doesn’t want to see the reality. In the end, it is the public which will face the consequences.

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