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Bullet train white elephant, have to see how we benefit: Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray

“Who will benefit from bullet train? How will trade and industries get a boost in the state? If it is going to benefit, convince us. We will go before the people and then decide what to do,” Uddhav Thackeary added.

Mumbai |
February 5, 2020 10:07:07 am
Mumbai bulet train, Maharashtra bullet train, Mumbai ahmedabad bullet train, uddhav thackeray on bullet train Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Comparing the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project to a “white elephant”, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday said a decision will be taken on it after taking into account how it would benefit the state.

In the second part of his three-part interview with Saamana, the Shiv Sena mouthpiece, Uddhav said priorities need to be fixed for the state’s development, considering its economic condition.

“We have to see what is urgent and not take up something just because we are getting loan at zero or less interest. We acquire farmers’ land for no reason and then look after these white elephants. This is not right,” he said in response to a question on staying projects, including the bullet train.

“Who will benefit from bullet train? How will trade and industries get a boost in the state? If it is going to benefit, convince us. We will go before the people and then decide what to do,” he added.

When pointed out that it is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project, Uddhav said, “It may be the PM’s dream project but the reality is in front of you when you wake up and it is not a dream.”

Alleging that the state government was not getting its rightful share of central funds on time, he said: “It is a fact that the government is not getting assistance from the Centre the way it should have. After I wrote a letter to the Union government in December about pending GST arrears worth Rs 15,000 crore, it released around Rs 4,500 crore. But again the arrears have increased. Will the Opposition take out a protest for this?”

“I would not say that the central funds are being deliberately delayed… The delay in getting funds from the Centre is delaying the state government’s schemes. If we get funds on time from the Centre, then we will be able to give it to farmers on time,” he added.

Asked about the huge debt facing the state, Uddhav said the government needs to find a way to deal with it. “The work on the white paper on the government’s financial status is almost complete. It will be presented before the people.”

The CM said the farm loan waiver scheme would be rolled out next month. “A separate scheme for loans of more than Rs 2 lakh and for farmers who regularly repay their loans will be announced soon,” he added.

Asked about industries leaving the state, Uddhav said he had recently met industrialists and assured them their issues would be resolved. “I will not allow a single industry to move out of the state… but local youth should get most of the jobs employment in these industries,” he added.

Uddhav alleged that memorandum of understandings worth crores were signed during the previous regime, but most didn’t materialise. “Further, demonetisation and GST was imposed,” he said.

Defending the Mumbai 24×7 project, Uddhav said: “Shouldn’t we provide required facilities like meals to workers? Night life does not mean pubs and bars. It means going for dinner somewhere where you could not go with the family during the day.”

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