With two new Metro routes, extension of existing routes and an assurance about starting work on the much-delayed 170-km Ring Road plan, the Maharashtra Budget for 2020-21, presented by the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, has given a major boost to infrastructure projects that aim to resolve the severe traffic issues plaguing the city.
The budget was tabled in the Legislative Assembly by state Finance Minister Ajit Pawar, who is also the guardian minister of Pune district. Pawar announced several infrastructure projects in the city, as well as a renewed push for the existing ones.
The projects include two new Metro routes, from Mann village to Pirangut, and Shivajinagar to Shevalevadi in Hadapsar. This is an extension of the approved Metro route from Mann village to Shivajinagar which is being developed by PMRDA.
The two Metro lines being developed by Maha-Metro will also be extended.The Vanaj to Ramwadi route will be extended to Chandani Chowk and Wagholi. The Metro route from Pimpri Chinchwad to Swargate will be extended from Swargate to Katraj, and from Pimpri-Chinchwad to Nigdi.
“More funds will be provided for Pune Metro project this year than was provided in the last five years. A total of Rs 1,657 crore will be made available for Metro projects in the state for 2020-21,” Pawar said in his budget speech.
The state government has also given a push to the outer Ring Road plan by setting a definite time-frame for it. “The work will start in the current year and will be completed in the next four years by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation,” said the finance minister.
Union Road and Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has assured funding for the project if the state government manages to acquire the land. The road is proposed to divert the traffic from Nashik, Aurangabad, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Mumbai. The project is estimated to cost Rs 15,000 crore, including compensation for acquired land, said Pawar.
He also announced that while new airports will be constructed at Solapur and Pune, funds will be made available for construction of airports in Kolhapur, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Akola and Amravati districts.
The state is also planning to set up an international-level sports university at Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Mahalunge-Balewadi and an Olympic Bhavan in Pune, to enable athletes to excel in the Olympics, he said.
The state government has also proposed setting up 12 Centres of Excellence in government institutions, including engineering colleges at Nagpur, Aurangabad, Mumbai and Pune, pharmaceutical colleges at Ratnagiri, Karad, Aurangabad, and polytechnic colleges in Ratnagiri, Pune and Nagpur. An outlay of Rs 1,300 crore has been proposed for Higher and Technical Education department schemes.
Pawar said the state government was also considering setting up a 1,000-capacity hostel for working women from backward classes in Pune, and 500-capacity hostels for boys and girls from backward classes for Pune and Mumbai Universy students. He said the government intended to model all schools in the state along the lines of the Zilla Parishad School at Vabalewadi in Shirur, which has risen to prominence as a very good school.
The budget also has a provision of Rs 5 crore for the Pune International Film Festival.
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