MUMBAI: In a major decision, the MVA government under Uddahv Thackeray on Wednesday decided to go ahead with the Nagpur-Mumbai Samruddhi Corridor project conceived by the previous Devendra Fadnavis government. The state cabinet also decided to name the project after Balasaheb Thackeray instead of Atal Bihari Vajpeyee.
While the state government made available additional Rs 3,500 crore as the capital for the project, the cabinet today also decided to waive off all the stamp duties applicable to all financial transactions related to the project, minister Eknath Shinde said after the cabinet meeting.
As minister in-charge of Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) in Fadnavis cabinet, Shinde had played a crucial role in developing the project.
The cabinet has also decided to name the corridor after Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray, Shinde said. While the BJP had originally planned to name the corridor after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, recently a former BJP MLA had demanded that it be named after Dalit icon Babasaheb Ambedkar.
“The Samruddhi Corridor will connect Nagpur, where Deekshabhoomi (where Dr Ambedkar converted to Buddhism) is located, and Mumbai, where Chaityabhoomi (the Dalit icon's resting place) is located. It will be a fitting tribute to name it after Babasaheb Ambedkar,” Ganpat Gaikwad, BJP MLA from Kalyan East had demanded in a letter written to CM Thackeray earlier this week.
The Samruddhi Corridor is a 700-km expressway connecting Mumbai with Nagpur and is estimated to cost Rs 46,000 crore. The project will connect 24 out of 36 districts of the state and will cut down travel time between Mumbai and Nagpur to 8 hours or to the half of what it currently takes. Several commercial and industrial nodes along the way.
Originally Shiv Sena had opposed the project over the issue of land acquisition, but changed the stand after the compensation was increased almost four folds.
Among other decisions, the cabinet has give nod to increase the limit of contingency funds to Rs 5,350 crore. This will help the state government to give compensation to the farmers, officials said.
Meanwhile, the state government has also written to union finance minister requesting immediate release of Rs 15,558 crore comprising GST compensation upto November 2019 from the Centre.
“The pending dues include Rs 6946.29 core of tax devolution and Rs 8611.76 crore towards GST compensation,” the letter stated.
“As per the Union budget 2019-20, the tax devolution to Maharashtra was Rs 46,630.66 crore which is 11.15 per cent more than Rs 41,952.65 crore received by the state during 2018-19. But, the state has received only Rs 20,254.92 crore till October 2019 which is 25.53 per cent less compared to the budget estimate of 2019-20. Instead of receiving the enhanced amount, the state has received less than the budgeted amount. With further slowdown of the economy during the second quarter, it’s likely that there will be further reduction in tax devolution,” the letter said.
“During the current financial year, we have received Rs 5635 crore as GST compensation for the first four months only. However, an amount of Rs 8611.76 crore is due towards the GST compensation up to November 2019,” Thackeray said in the letter.