The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government here on Wednesday decided to name the upcoming Nagpur-Mumbai Super Communication Expressway (NMSCE) after the Shiv Sena founder-patriarch late Balasaheb Thackeray, officials said.
The decision was taken at the cabinet meeting, presided over by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, on a proposal by Minister Eknath Shinde for the christening of the Rs 55,335-crore mega project, also known as Nagpur-Mumbai Samruddhi Mahamarg.
Incidentally, the previous Bharatiya Janata Party-led government of former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was preparing to name it after late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajapayee.
At that time, the Sena as a ruling ally had demanded the NMSCE be named after late Thackeray, but the request was not conceded, and the decision was pending.
At Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, the state government also decided to infuse an additional Rs 3,500 crore share capital into the MNSCE and waive stamp duty on the agreements between agencies working on the project.
This will be in addition to the existing capital of Rs 27,335 crore, comprising Rs 3,500 crore from the Maharashtra State Roads Development Corporation, Rs 5,500 crore from state PSUs, waiver of royalties on minor minerals of Rs 2,414 crore, interest on loans during the construction period at Rs 6,396 crore and land cost of Rs 9,525 crore.
With the infusion of additional share capital, the state debt burden on the project would come down by Rs 2,500 crore and remove the requirement to provide a guarantee for Rs 16,500 crore loan on the project.
The revised project cost is Rs 55,335 crore and a loan of Rs 24,500 crore was approved for the special purpose vehicle, NMSCE.
The NMSCE will be an eight-lane expressway, 701 km long, linking the country’s commercial capital with the orange capital, and is targeted for completion by 2021.
Running through 10 districts and touching around 390 villages, it will cut the travel time between Nagpur and Mumbai from 15 hours to 8 hours, proving a boon to people in both cities and en route towns and villages by opening up employment opportunities.
En route would be more than four dozen flyovers, 24 interchanges, half a dozen big and small tunnels, over 400 vehicular and 300-plus pedestrian underpasses at strategic locations.
Earlier, there were demands to name it after several prominent personalities, including Mahatma Gandhi, B.R. Ambedkar and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.