The Rs 46,000-crore Nagpur-Mumbai Supercommunication Expressway project will be a gateway to eastern Maharashtra, which is home to 90 per cent of the mineral deposits in the state, says an internal report of the state government, adding the project will boost economic growth in the naxal and tribal belt of Maharashtra.
While reiterating that the construction of the project will commence as per schedule from October 2017, the government has indicated that along with land acquisition the process of financial tie-ups are underway.
Public Works Department (Public Undertaking) Minister Eknath Shinde said, “The 706-km Nagpur-Mumbai Supercommunication Expressway will be fastest with a speed of 150 km/hour.”
Notwithstanding the criticism from the opposition parties and various non-government organisations raising apprehensions over land acquisition, he said, “Whether it is financial tie-up for mobilising the funds or eliciting the support from villagers for land acquisition, we have received overwhelming response to the project.”
The eastern part of state has maximum steel, cement and mineral industries. It is also home to 60 per cent of power generation. Incidentally, it is also a Naxal belt which lacks development.
The report states, “Currently the travel time for passenger traffic is 16-18 hours and goods transported from Nagpur and east of it takes up to 36 hours to reach JNPT on account of poor connectivity.”
The completion of the project will help in rapid transportation of goods to and from backward regions of Vidarbha and Marathwada across 24 districts by reducing the travel time to 6 to 8 hours. Thus, providing superior access to central and eastern Maharashtra. And connect several industrial townships at Buti Bori, Thane, Nashik, Aurangabad and Jalna.
Of the total land required for the project (10,463 hectares), 9500 hectares is private land and balance 963 hectares is government and forest land. Shinde said, “Apart from the compensation for land acquired which is fivefold more, it is through single transaction through RTGS which has never happened in the past 57 years.”
Sharing his experience on land acquisition process, he said, “Some villagers walked to me saying they were told that first installment would be given immediately and rest of the amount two years later. However, when I explained all the financial transaction was through single transfer to their direct bank account, they willingly came forward to provide more land.” Pointing to the apprehensions based on wrong information, he said, “The support to the project at ground is amazing.”
Along the expressway 25 nodes or growth centres include info-tech hubs, logistic parks, agricultural hubs, industrial hubs, educational hubs, medical hubs, smart cities, resorts etc. The pre-qualification process for selection of the EPC contractor is under process. The SBI Caps have approached the potential lenders for the project.
Aggregate funding support by way of land monetisation during the period of operations is estimated to be Rs 13,000 crore. The monetisation of MSRDC land (Bandra, Napeansea Road and along Mumbai Pune Highway estimated at Rs 18,000 crore) is envisaged for funding to meet the cash shortfall in debt servicability.
According to the report, state governnment is planning to provide support from other sources (including cess on petroleum products) to meet cash shortfall funding arising due to timing mismatch in monetisation of land and/or increase in cash shortfall funding required dye to deviation from traffic/tariff assumptions considered.
The total revenue for the project is estimated at Rs 1,082 crore in the first year of operations and is substantially conservative for a 706-km road as compared to Mumbai-Pune Expressway, which is expected to earn revenue of Rs 1,035 crore in the same year for a stretch of 95 km.