MUMBAI: It rained sops in Maharashtra ahead of the Assembly elections as the state cabinet on Tuesday took a dozen major decisions worth Rs 20,000 crore, ranging from new metro lines to initiation of a new cooking gas scheme and a Marathwada water grid to serve parched constituencies, besides a good pay hike for the municipal staff.
The first phase of Marathwada Water Grid Project worth Rs 4,293 crore, seeks to develop a piped network for drinking water in the drought-hit region across eight districts. The first phase would be implemented in Aurangabad and Jalna districts. Finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said the cabinet also decided that all employees of local self-government bodies too shall receive benefits of the Seventh Pay commission.
“The decision would mean an additional annual burden of Rs 409 crore and it would involve payouts of arrears of five years in instalments,” he said.
With the aim to enroll 41 lakh new beneficiaries, Maharashtra also launched its own scheme to provide domestic gas connection to families which don’t fulfill the criteria for union government’s Ujjwala scheme. A `100-crore allocation was made for implementation of this scheme in 14 districts. The state will contribute `3,448 for every new LPG connection.
The Cabinet also approved implementation of three Metro railway routes with a whopping `4,032 crore for the 20-km long Mumbai metro route from Gaimukh-Shivaji Chowk in Mira Road. The 12-km metro route 11 from Wadala-CSMT would cost Rs 6,135 crore and the 9-km Kalyan-Taloja route no. 12 would cost Rs 5,865 crore, Mungantiwar said.
In yet another related decision, the cabinet decided to pay the government’s share for Hinjewadi-Shivajiagar Metro viability gap funding through transfer of government land to the Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority. The cabinet also decided to set up a separate police commissionerate for Mira-Bhayander and Vasai-Virar belts, which has seen a surge in population.
Maratha organisations to contest Assembly polls
The Maratha community has decided to field its candidates in the Maharashtra Assembly polls. Leaders of Maratha Kranti Thok Morcha announced this at a press conference in Mumbai. In Aurangabad, Maratha organisations on Monday night installed a statue of Kakasaheb Shinde at a bridge on the Godavari river. Shinde had jumped into the river for a Maratha quota last year.