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Has BJP Delivered its Promises on Infrastructure in Maharashtra?

promises on infrastructure

This article is part of a series on Maharashtra – Promises and Delivery

Part 1: Infrastructure

Part 2: ‘Water For All’ 

Part 3: Urban Development

Part 4: Economy and Employment

Part 5: Farmers

Part 6: Education

Part 7: Health For All

Part 8: Women Empowerment & Safety

Part 9: Cultural Heritage

BJP made a few promises in it’s 2014 Maharashtra manifesto during elections. As Maharashtra goes to polls on 21st October, we start a series to do a fact check which of these promises have been fulfilled. BJP’s 2014 manifesto is published by a private online publication. The promises have been grouped under multiple heads which would be posted in series in the coming days. The first in the series is infrastructure.

Holding the position of the most industrially developed state of India, the state of Maharashtra cannot progress further if the basic infrastructure needs are not met. Infrastructure includes roads, railways, electricity and ports that speed up the development of any region.

Roadways

Promise– Network of expressways will be developed to connect important cities

While the central government’s Bharatmala project has seen considerable progress in Maharashtra, the state’s own endeavor has been to build the Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg, an eight-lane expressway connecting Mumbai and Nagpur. It will cover important industrial and pilgrimage places and will also set up 24 Krushi Samruddhi Kendras for agricultural development. While the project is expected to be completed by 2021, till now more than 8200 hectares of land has been acquired out of the 9600 hectares proposed.

Promise– An excellent and credible public transport system will be built

The focus has been on Metro rails in important cities. The projects were all stuck before 2013-14 and were kickstarted after the new government took over.

Promise– The construction of the four-lane Mumbai-Goa national highway will be completed on priority basis

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that the four lane highway between Mumbai and Goa will be completed by 2020. The progress of the road can be seen from these pictures.

Promise– All villages in the state will be connected by quality and all- weather roads.

The progress of PM Gram Sadak Yojana has been good in the state with a total of 10554 habitations connected till March 2019, growing from 7843 habitations connected as on March 2014. The project is yet to achieve its full goal.

Promise– The current toll policies will be thoroughly revamped to rationalize toll charges

Maharashtra revised its toll policy in 2014 and shut down 44 unnecessary toll plazas. Moreover, the rules for the distance between two toll plazas, amount of toll to be collected and facilities to be provided were also specified.

Air Connectivity

Promise– Operationalization of all the closed airports will take place.

The UDAN scheme of central government has seen Maharashtra take the lead with airports at Jalgaon, Kolhapur, Nanded, Ratnagiri, Solapur, Gondia, Sindhudurg, Amaravati and Ozar being connected under UDAN Regional Connectivity Scheme.

Moreover, to reduce the load on Mumbai airport, a new international airport at Navi Mumbai has been proposed. Also, new land in the Purandar taluka has been zeroed for the Pune International Airport. All these projects were stuck before 2014.

Port Connectivity

Promise– Rapid water/sea transport along the Konkan coast will be developed.

Ro-Ro services have been built from Mumbai to Mandwa in Raigad district. Moreover, sea jetty terminals are being constructed at Rajpur creek, Dighi, Revas and Karanja

Talking of the seas, port infrastructure and connectivity also has been stressed. 23 projects with a sanctioned cost of Rs 475 crore have been awarded under Sagarmala programme. Also, North Konkan and South Konkan have been selected as the two coastal economic zones under Sagarmala.

Internet Connectivity

Promise– The fastest broadband network in India will be made available across the state at affordable prices.

The Bharatnet project of the central government aims at providing broadband connectivity through optic fiber communication. While in 2014, nationwide there were barely 350 Gram Panchayats connected to Optic Fiber, you can imagine the number for Maharashtra! After 2014, rapid progress has been made and a total of 15126 Gram Panchayats have got optic fiber connectivity.

Nagpur achieved the feat of becoming the first digital district of India, showing the progress made in internet connectivity.

Energy

Promise New Energy Policy to be framed, with emphasis on power generation and reduce transmission and distribution losses

While no specific New Energy Policy has been framed by the state, it has definitely worked in improving power generation and reducing the AT&C and distribution losses.

The installed capacity was about 26,493 MW at the start of 2014, which has increased to 36,705 MW by 31st March 2019.

A state may generate a lot of electricity. But while transmitting that energy over long distances, there are losses. Thus, efficiency of any state is seen from the reduction in the distribution losses. The Economic Survey of Maharashtra 2018-19 tells us what work has been done.

Source- Economic Survey Maharashtra 2018-19

Promise– We will make Maharashtra load shedding free in one year….Purchase of coal would be made more transparent

The coal supply has been regularized to a lot extent with active involvement from Central government. The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act 2015 of the Central Government made transparent auctions of coal mines possible after licenses were cancelled due to Coal Gate scam of UPA. Maharashtra benefited from it. However, coal supplies were irregular in some years while the supplies are regular this year. Thus, the success is partial in this case.

This also affected the load shedding. While the hours of load shedding have reduced, it hasn’t been fully eliminated. However, the supply of electricity has outstripped the average demand for the first time in 2017-18. The following two graphs show how huge the shortfall between demand and supply was and how much it has been bridged since 2017-18.

Promise– To encourage the usage of non-conventional sources of energy

The renewable energy admixture in the total energy distribution has improved a lot, especially the growth in installed solar capacity.

As on 31st December 2013, barely 5272 MW of installed renewable capacity existed. By October 2018, the installed renewable capacity has increased to 8706 MW. The solar capacity was dismally low at 180MW in 2013 but has seen the most impressive jump to 1017 MW in 2018.

Promise Minimum 10 hours power supply per day will be provided to water pumps for agriculture.

An innovative scheme of using solar water pumps on farms has been formulated on the lines of KUSUM scheme. Mukhyamantri Saur Krishi Pump Yojana aims to set up one lakh solar pumps which will provide eight to ten hours of reliable electricity supply to the farmers. The scheme is already a hit, despite the concerns about groundwater.

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