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Mumbai-Nagpur Eway: State to make upfront payment to farmers

To commence work on the ambitious Rs. 46,000 crore Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway from the originally planned date of October 1, implementing agency MSRDC has decided to start making upfront payment of compensation to the farmers from April 15.

“Since we haven’t received consent from all the farmers for the land pooling scheme, we have decided to make upfront one-time payment of compensation to the farmers for the remaining pool of land that we need for the project,” Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Radheshyam Mopalwar said.

To enable the farmers who surrender their land for commercial development of the 24 nodes that will come up along the proposed expressway now named as the Maharashtra Samruddhi Corridor, government had proposed to make them partners by offering incentives like annuity with 10 per cent annual increase, assured buy-back after 10 years apart from continuing to have land ownership.

“We had hoped that this proposal would be easily adopted by farmers as they would also get the benefit of commercial development and had accordingly made amendments to the Highways Act. But since they have not accepted it, we cannot wait any longer. So, we will start paying them compensation from April 15 and acquire their land,” Mopalwar said.

He said a committee is already negotiating with the farmers and the panel hopes to complete the process as early as possible. “We have already allocated Rs. 10,000 crore for land acquisition which includes land pooling as well as monetary compensation,” he added.

The MSRDC has proposed residential and commercial development at the nodes apart from creating recreational facilities and access roads among others.

The 706-km long project estimated to cost Rs. 46,000- crore will be developed in 16 packages on an EPC basis.

“We have already floated RFQ and we are hopeful work will commence from October 1 itself,” Mopalwar said.

When asked how was the Corporation planning to raise funds for this massive project, Mopalwar said, “We have a consortium of banks to borrow along with our equity contribution. We will also get some funds from the government. Besides, we have also sought project loans from state agencies like MMRDA, CIDCO, MHADA, and SRA.”

The Corporation has already appointed SBI Caps to help in fund raising, he said, adding he is not keen on overseas agencies like Jica, ADB or World Bank, as the funds are coming through the Centre instead of coming directly to it.

“We believe in getting funds directly from lenders. Though overseas loans are cheaper the main issue is that we don’t get it directly but through the Centre. So, as much as possible we want to depend on domestic sources,” he said, but added that ADB is in talks with for the same.

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