Start­ing Dec 2020, drive from Mum­bai to Nag­pur in 8 hours

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES CITY - Chit­taran­jan.Tem­b­hekar

If all goes ac­cord­ing to plan, mo­torists from Mum­bai will be able to reach Nag­pur in just eight hours by De­cem­ber 2020, ac­cord­ing to the state road de­vel­op­ment cor­po­ra­tion. At present, it is a 14-15 hour drive.

With the land ac­qui­si­tion process for chief min­is­ter Deven­dra Fad­navis’s Rs 55,000-crore pet project al­most com­plete and fund­ing also in place, ground-clear­ing and lev­el­ling work has be­gun on sev­eral stretches of the 701km Ma­ha­rash­tra Sam­rud­dhi Ma­hamarg (pros­per­ity cor­ri­dor), also called the Mum­baiNag­pur su­per­com­mu­ni­ca­tion high­way, which will pass through 10 dis­tricts.

“It’s a his­toric mo­ment for us. Con­trac­tors have al­ready started pre-con­struc­tion works,” said Rad­heshyam Mopal­war, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, MSRDC. Ear­lier, MSRDC had planned to com­mis­sion the ex­press­way by 2021. Mopal­war added: “100% of the project land is now with the gov­ern­ment and com­pen­sa­tion has been given to around 90% of the af­fected farm­ers.” Around 13% of land is be­ing ac­quired un­der the Ma­ha­rash­tra High­ways Act, 1955, the com­pen­sa­tion dis­burse­ment process for which is end­ing in a few weeks, sources said.

“Men and ma­chin­ery have taken over a ma­jor por­tion of the pro­posed ex­press­way. Be­sides clean­ing, grub­bing and lev­el­ling roads, geotech­ni­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tions to de­cide the type and level of foun­da­tion are also in ad­vanced stages. The con­struc­tion plan pro­files for 16 road phases are be­ing given fi­nal touches. Site of­fices are be­ing set up,” said MSRDC chief en­gi­neer Anil Gaik­wad.

The project has also got the green light from the min­istry of en­vi­ron­ment and forests for stretches pass­ing through for­est zones, es­pe­cially to­wards Nashik. A for­mal for­est clear­ance is ex­pected in a few days.

Ex­perts said it is a “re­al­is­tic” dead­line as land re­quired for the mega project has been ac­quired. “But safety and speed con­trol will be the ma­jor chal­lenges ahead,” they added.

Ear­lier this month, around 20 banks, led by State Bank of In­dia, called on Fad­navis and promised a Rs 2.5-lakh crore loan for Ma­ha­rash­tra Sam­rud­dhi Ma­hamarg within 30 days. State agen­cies have con­trib­uted an­other Rs 6,000 crore for the ex­press­way project.

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