Spurred by efforts to give Mumbai and its surrounding metropolitan region a facelift, the Maharashtra government is working on a 15-year, Rs12,000 crore plan to develop infrastructure across the state.
Officials of the state government are finalizing a plan to build expressways, airports and ports that will provide better connectivity across the state with an estimated initial investment of $3 billion.
“We are looking at infrastructure development and modernization across the state, linking main cities such as Pune, Nashik, Kolhapur and Nagpur. This means more highways, expressways and airports. We are finalizing the details,” said Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.
The infrastructure is proposed to be developed through four different public-private sector business models in which government investment will be nominal, said the state’s chief secretary Johny Joseph.
Under the plan, major cities, including Pune, Nashik, Kolhapur, Aurangabad and Nagpur, will be connected with expressways.
To cater to the boom in air traffic, the state government has also identified 21 locations within the state to put on the aviation map. Of them, seven will get full-fledged airports through private investments, including Amravati, Kolhapur, Latur and Shirdi. To give a boost to business ports, 48 sites have been identified along the state’s 720km coastline. Deshmukh has already pushed a blueprint of this plan to infrastructure companies on a recent visit to New York, where he sought to drum up investment for the state.
Though Maharashra has seen a steady growth in industrial investment in the past decade, poor infrastructure beyond the Mumbai-Pune-Nashik triangle is seen as a bottleneck in competing with neighbours such as Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, both of which are aggressively marketing themselves as industry-friendly destinations.
Besides transport infrastructure, the state government is also inviting the private sector to start power generation, irrigation and urban housing projects.
In the power sector, the state is inviting private companies to set up plants for generating 4,000MW of power and offering franchises for managing distribution circles with a capacity of 2,000MW.
The state has also offered the option of collecting water cess and generating power to investors willing to complete pending irrigation projects. The state’s public-private-partnership facilitation cell, set up four months ago by the government and headed by Sanjay Ubale, secretary, special projects, will act as an interface for the investors.
Deshmukh is also likely to set up an advisory committee of experts to implement the plan.