It has been only a year since the tri-party alliance led by Uddhav Thackeray took over Maharashtra, but the state is already on a downward spiral. In the last one year, all major infrastructure projects started by the Fadnavis government- Metro rail, hyperloop, coastal road, bullet train- have been either closed down or slowed. The state also became a hotbed of Coronavirus and still has one of the highest per capita cases in the country.
At a time when a state like Uttar Pradesh- which used to be way behind Maharashtra in terms of foreign investment and new projects- is receiving record investment and companies have been announcing to set up their offices/factories in the state every week, the Maharashtra government has nothing to show on the economic front in one year of its reign.
On the other hand, the Uddhav Government is wasting thousands of crores of the taxpayer’s money on the so-called ‘environmental concerns’. The Uddhav-led government decided to shift the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz metro car shed from the Aarey milk colony to Kanjurmarg last month. The Aarey Metro car shed plan was scrapped by the government despite the fact that a four-member expert committee, appointed by the Chief Minister himself in January this year, advised against the move.
Last year in November, the very next day after the Uddhav Thackeray government was sworn in, the construction of the shed was stopped despite the warning and the project was delayed. 400 crore rupees of the taxpayer money was already spent on the project and it cost the government around 1300 crore rupees and now 4,000 crore rupees of cost escalation is being estimated due to the shifting of the project. So, the total money wasted by the Thackeray government to satisfy its ego is around 5,700 crore rupees and the completion of the Bandra-SEEPZ line has been delayed by at least by a couple of years.
The government also stopped the Hyperloop project, which aimed to reduce the travel time between Mumbai and Pune to just 35 minutes. Speaking in a typical leftist politician tone, the Finance Minister of the state, Ajit Pawar, said: “Hyperloops have never been constructed anywhere in the world until now, so let this be tried somewhere else before us. Once it is successful, then we can think of it.”
The deadline for the Bullet train, the dream project of the Modi government, has been extended by 5 years, thanks to delay in land acquisition in Maharashtra. “In any linear project like the bullet train project, work can only begin when a certain amount of land is available. We are hoping that within the next three to six months, we will be able to get to that point where we have 90-100 per cent of the land,” said V K Yadav, Railway Board Chairman.
Mumbai has one of the worst public infrastructures in the country due to ignorance by the Congress-NCP alliance government which ruled the state from 1999 to 2014. The people of Mumbai have to travel for at least 2-3 hours every day in the congested Local trains in order to commute but the Congress-NCP government funneled all the taxpayer’s money into the Pune-Baramati region- the bastion of the Pawars, and the Marathwada region- the stronghold of Congress. The Fadnavis led government spent billions of dollars to improve the public infrastructure and tried to give a comprehensive metro network to the financial capital but Uddhav Thackeray is destroying his hard work for the CM chair.
Mumbai – the stronghold of Shiv-Sena and Vidarbha – the stronghold of BJP was always ignored by the successive Congress and NCP governments. The Fadnavis government tried to address the issue by allocating billions of dollars for infrastructure projects in Mumbai and Vidarbha but now, shooting itself in foot, Shiv Sena is dedicated towards delaying these projects.
The Shiv Sena is already losing ground in Mumbai to BJP as the non-Marathi vote- almost half of Mumbai’s total voter base- has already shifted to BJP and even the Marathi people now are fed-up with Uddhav Thackeray who operates the exact opposite of his father. The problem is that the non-Marathi voters do not vote in civic elections and if BJP is able to bring them to the booth in 2022, Shiv Sena is set to lose its two-decades-old monopoly in BMC.