After a massive defeat in the Lok Sabha elections, and with the Assembly elections drawing closer, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Friday took mediapersons with him on a transport infrastructure tour of Mumbai, where he showcased the development that his government has brought about in the country’s financial capital.
In an event organised by a public relations firm, Chavan covered showpiece projects like freeway, monorail, Santacruz-Chembur link road, the new T2 airport terminal, the elevated road leading up to the new terminal, Milan overbridge and a Metro rail station.
After the defeat in the Lok Sabha elections this year, several Congress leaders, including Chavan himself, had conceded that the party had failed to showcase the development that the state government has brought about during its term.
For every project, Chavan, who was sitting in the bus in the front with a microphone, explained the salient features such as the freeway’s twin tunnels, the double-deck bridge of the Santacruz-Chembur link road, the steel bridge over railway lines at Milan and the fish-belly model of the Sahar elevated road. He listed the difficulties in construction, enumerating the challenges of working in a brown-field environment as compared to a green-field one, and the benefits of every project.
Strategically, the Chief Minister got down from the bus for photo opportunities at a few vantage points such as the departure area of the glitzy T2, where photographers clicked away as Chavan paid his tribute to the national flag fluttering atop a flagpole. He also alighted at the Western Express Highway Metro station, where his supporters were waiting to welcome him, flower bouquets in hand.
Chavan was accompanied by senior officials of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the implementing authority for all these infrastructure works, who were softly prompting Chavan with crucial facts about each project.
“Although these projects were completed earlier, we decided to take the media contingent for a proper visit of all these works Friday as it was a holiday. So there was time for it,” Chavan said.
He said the state government has completed a dozen important projects in the past five years, at a total cost of Rs 15,000 crore. “The state government has rehabilitated over 40,000 project-affected families as part of these projects,” he said.
Talking about future development, Chavan said the government hoped to conduct a bhoomi pujan for the underground Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro soon, and hand over keys to slumdwellers in the first building of the Dharavi redevelopment project, which is nearly complete.
* Passenger water transport between Nariman Point and Borivali. Rs 753.4 cr
* Passenger water transport between Ferry Wharf and Mandwa. Rs 356 cr
* Expansion of the Thane creek bridge. Rs 300 cr
* Capacity augmentation on the Mumbai-Pune expressway. Rs 4,500 cr
* Worli-Haji Ali Sea Link. Rs 2,600 cr
* Second phase of the Solapur integrated road development project. Rs 300 cr
DDC vice-chairperson Ashish Khetan said, “As of today he does not hold the charge anymore.”