Ashok Chavan, Chief Minister, Maharashtra has the distinction of presenting a landmark structure, which will resolve traffic problems of Mumbaikars to a large extent, a one of its kind initiative that would be hard to find elsewhere in the world.
With the inauguration of the Bandra Worli Sea Link, the International perception of Mumbai will undergo a major change and with the CM setting the pace, subsequent phases of the project should be commence shortly too.
While it is splendid enough in isolation, the Bandra Worli Sea Link is the first part of an overall master plan for connecting Mumbai's island city with the suburbs. While Mumbaikars are justifiably excited at the thought of finally being able to drive down the Bandra Worli Sea Link, the question being asked is how soon would the government be able to take the remaining phases of the process forward?
Ashok Chavan, Chief Minister, Maharashtra is quite confident that the remaining phases will now go through at a much faster pace. After personally supervising the work on the Bandra Worli Sea Link and declaring it quite satisfactory, the Maharashtra CM gave priority to two tasks. The first was opening the bridge for public use at the earliest and the second, finalising the bids for the Worli to Haji Ali Sea Link on an urgent basis. Stating that the work for the next phase is also in progress, the Maharashtra CM was optimistic about taking the process forward at a fast pace.
It is this leadership style and emphasis on infrastructure that has exemplified Ashok Chavan's tenure as Maharashtra CM so far. Emphasising that Maharashtra is one of the most urbanized states in India, he has highlighted Maharashtra's Vision to achieve higher and sustainable economic growth, balanced regional development and employment generation as well as greater private and public investment in industrial and infrastructure development.
The CM has always underscored the importance of Mumbai, Maharashtra's capital, which is also India's Financial Capital. He has described Mumbai as the sixth largest metropolitan area in the world and most cosmopolitan city in India. Mumbai generates 5% of India's GDP, is the headquarters of most corporates, banks, financial institutions and the Reserve Bank. It's time zone gives Mumbai a great advantage. BSE and NSE account for over 70% of the volume across all stock exchanges in the country. Over 90% of commodities turnover transactions are executed from NCDEX and MCX. 90% of all merchant banking activities take place in Mumbai. It has the centre of entertainment - Bollywood and is considered to be the 'Best City for Business' and 'The City That Never Sleeps,' he states.
In the area of infrastructure, he observed that increased development will be needed to keep pace with growth. In the area of Power, 14000 MW is being added by 2010 with an investment of USD 27 billion on generation, transmission and distribution. The Mumbai Makeover project entails investment of 60 Billion USD for improving connectivity. Roads are being widened to four lanes, the project involves setting up of dedicated freight rail corridors from hinterland to ports through the PPP model, in airports Green field Projects are coming up at Navi Mumbai, Pune (Chakan) and International Cargo Hub at Nagpur. Apart from Mumbai Port and JNPT, seven minor ports are being developed in private partnership.
In addition there is promotion of Integrated Township Projects with areas earmarked for residential, commercial, educational, amenities, health, parks, public utilities etc through private investment.
"My vision for Maharashtra is balanced regional development. Right now Mumbai is the biggest attraction. Growth has to be through infrastructure, through jobs, by creating opportunities. I have travelled across the globe and seen the pace of development there.
So I feel, 'why should this not happen in our state also?' We should compete globally not regionally, the mindset has to change. At the benchmark level there is a need for change to percolate. There is a need to have an open mind on issues, technology is changing, the markets are changing so we also have to be changing and constantly update ourselves keeping in line with global requirements," the Maharashtra CM has emphasised.
With the inauguration of the Bandra Worli Sea Link, the stage is now set for Ashok Chavan, Chief Minister of Maharashtra state to lead from the front and ensure that subsequent phases of the Sea Link project go through as soon as possible.
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