Bullet Train: RTI Reveals Maharashtra BJP Govt Ignored Warning of Rs 48000-Cr Loss
RTI Activist Jeetendra Ghadge said that the state govt didn't consider the objections raised by departments and approved the project under pressure from the Centre.
The reply to an RTI application has reportedly revealed that the Maharashtra government ignored objections from several departments, including one by the urban development department which had stated that a loss of revenue worth Rs 48,000 crore may occur if Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) land is given for the proposed terminus of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train.
Mumbai Mirror reported that a cabinet sub-committee headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to study the bullet train project was set up on February 27, 2017. Home department’s reply to an RTI query filed by activist Jeetendra Ghadge, disclosed that the committee did not hold a single meeting till November 26, 2018. however, the project was cleared on September 12, 2017. Ministers Chandrakant Patil, Education Vinod Tawde and Diwakar Raote were members of the committee.
Reply to a separate RTI filed by Ghadge revealed that the government overlooked objections of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and the departments of finance, planning and transport. A cabinet note dated January 3, 2017, prepared by the transport department, had reportedly highlighted the objections of the various departments. This included the urban development department which had said, “There is a possibility of loss of revenue of Rs 48,000 crore if the MMRDA land in BKC is given away. Instead of the BKC land, the railway ministry should give its own land for the project somewhere else.
The reply added, ““There is clarity that the station will be underground and that the station will be underground and the International Financial Service Centre will be overground. Both can co-exist. However, some part of the available FSI could remain unutilised due to height restriction, leading to revenue loss. Hence a conscious decision must be taken,’’ reported MM.
The MMRDA had reportedly suggested that the bullet train terminus be built in Dadar or Bandra. “The bullet train terminus would reduce the development potential of the land at BKC. This would affect the future availability of the projects of the MMRDA.”
The finance department had reportedly objected saying, “The government budget has shown a revenue loss and its proportion with the fiscal deficit is much more. The sizable chunk goes into repaying internal loans taken by the state.Against this background, the state government’s decision of buying the share of the project should be taken into consideration.”
Activist Ghadge told MM, “Both replies show that the government did not consider the objections by its own departments and gave approval to the project under pressure from the Centre. It is also not clear if the project would be beneficial for Maharashtra.”