MUMBAI: The state legislature and council approved a proposal on Thursday to extend the jurisdiction of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region(MMR) to cover portions of Palghar, Vasai, Pen, Kalyan, Bhiwandi, Khalapur and Alibaug. The extension of jurisdiction will enable MMRDA to invest in these areas and give boost to big ticket infra projects.
On Thursday, the proposal was introduced in the state assembly by minister of state for urban development Yogesh Sagar while it was mooted by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in the legislative council. The cabinet had passed the proposal in February.
Sources said the jurisdiction has been extended by 2,000 sq km. “Among the projects being planned is the extension of the Dahanu railway to Vasai, the multi-modal corridor from Alibaug to Virar, the Surya dam, the Navi Mumbai airport, the development of Boisar and the extension of the trans-harbour link,” said Sagar. As a result of the expansion in jurisdiction, MMRDA can get involved in arranging financing for the projects and even execute major schemes, he said.
NCP leader Jayant Patil raised concerns about the impact on Dahanu, which falls within Palghar and is an eco-sensitive zone. “We hope Dahanu will remain protected. It had a committee dedicated to monitoring development,” said Patil. Congress leader Nawab Malik said the government will have to take into account the large number of unauthorised construction in the Vasai-Virar-Nalasopara belt.
CM Fadnavis said: “The expansion in the scope of MMRDA will help boost infrastructure. It had been a long-pending demand of local representatives across party lines.” Assuring the Opposition that the special status of Dahanu will be taken into account while implementing projects, he said the move will help prevent unauthorised construction in the region.
“The local authorities, whether municipal corporations or the gram sabhas, will remain planning authorities but the area will come under the jurisdiction of MMRDA,” the CM further explained. “With this expansion, the MMR population will increase by 12 lakh. We will, however, get a lot of new areas that are open land with less population. These areas can be developed for creating better infrastructure,” he stated.
Fadnavis said MMRDA was involving experts in a big way. “It is an organisation with less staff and there is need for more expertise to execute the big-ticket projects. For example, the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, which will be 22-km long, will have marvellous engineering. At the same time, we will ensure protection for biodiversity and bird sanctuary.”