MHADA unwilling to provide loan for Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway

Mumbai: Cash-strapped Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) is struggling to raise funds from other government agencies for its ambitious Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway project.

However, government agencies like Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (MHADA) are, it seems, unwilling to provide a loan. The project is running low on funds as the project cost has reached Rs 46,000 crore from the estimated Rs 30,000 crore.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis recently held a meeting with chiefs of all five government agencies — MHADA, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (CIDCO), Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) and Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) — directing them to chip in with Rs 1,000 crore each. The loan will be provided at an interest rate of 8%.

The state government is also planning to introduce a surcharge on the fuel on the expressway which is one of the way to collect the project cost.

A senior MHADA official questioned that the government wants to build a road at the cost of affordable housing in a city like Mumbai where property rates are a major concern.

“MHADA’s aim is to provide affordable housing to the economically weaker sections of society. A road cannot be built at the cost of affordable housing. However, I agree that the project will help commuters cut down on distance and we should have such connectivity in the state.”

Facing a major problem to acquire land as several farmers have opposed the project, the state government requires 10,000 hectares for the expressway. The 706-km expressway will pass through 10 districts for which it will have to compensate landowners. The districts include Washim, Amravati, Jalna, Aurangabad, Buldhana, Nashik, Ahmednagar, and Thane.

Sharad Pawar, NCP president, has opposed the Nagpur-Mumbai Samruddhi corridor. He has also said it is inappropriate to impose surcharge on petrol and diesel to recover the project cost.

“It will not be fair to impose surcharge on petrol and diesel from the people leaving in 10 districts from which the corridor will pass. I will speak with Sangharsh Samiti (anti-corridor committees) leaders on June 12 and will finalise further strategy,” said Pawar.

Sudhir Mungantiwar, finance minister, said, “Surcharge on petrol and diesel is not new. We apply it to recover the construction cost of highways.”

Meanwhile, MSRDC has already received Rs 1,600 crore from Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO).

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