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Union Minister for Shipping, Road Transport & Highways,  Mr. Nitin Gadkari today announced an ambitious plan to augment infrastructure in Mumbai.  The Minister has set up a Committee under Rani Jadhav, former Chairperson of the Mumbai Port Trust, to suggest  ways and means as to how 1800 acres of land under the Mumbai Port Trust can be put to use. Addressing a press conference on the occasion of the 142nd Foundation Day of the Mumbai Port Trust, Mr. Gadkari said the Committee will comprise experts like urban planners, landscape artists, transportation experts, including the Director of the J J School of Art,  Maharashtra Urban Development Secretary, among others. The committee will hold public consultations and discussions before arriving at conclusions.  He said he has asked the Committee to submit its report  within three months.
The plan includes, among other things, building world class cruise terminal, new waterways projects, a 500 room floating hotel to be anchored off the Raj Bhavan coast,  3-4 floating restaurants, a Ferris Wheel on the lines of London Eye and  marinas and jetties to promote intra-city water transport in Mumbai.
Mr.Gadkari said the estimated land value of port trust estate is approximately Rs 75,000 crores and he categorically ruled out that it will not be handed over to private builders. “Port land is a public property, and none of it will be given to private builders” he said.  Upon receiving the Rani Jadhav Committee Report, the government will float an international competition and award the development project on BOT (Build, Operate, Transfer) basis, he added.
The Minister said, Mumbai being the financial capital of India, needs to have world class infrastructure. “Mumbai generates large amount of revenue in the form of different taxes, it must get its due” said Mr. Gadkari.  He said the Centre will be supportive of all projects to improve Mumbai’s physical infrastructure.
Addressing Mumbai’s road transport woes.
Mr. Gadkari said, the Ministry of Road Transport will soon commission a study by the Indian Roads Research Organization to understand, analyse and suggest remedies to traffic bottlenecks in the city.  This report, when ready, will be handed over to the Government of Maharashtra for implementation. The Minister said, such a study was carried out in his home-town Nagpur, which greatly contributed towards scientific management of traffic, thereby reducing accident rates.
Speaking about the Mumbai Ring Road, Mr. Gadkari said, unlike many other cities, it does not fall under the jurisdiction of National Highway Authority of India. He said, the ring road solution for Mumbai should be a combination of coastal roads, sea-links, surface roads and trans-harbour link. He said the state government should seriously explore the tunnelling option, as the cost has come down drastically with advancement in technology.
Coast Guard gets a dedicated berth | Seaplane facility for MTDC
Earlier, at the 142nd Foundation Day celebration of the Mumbai Port Trust,  Mr. Nitin Gadkari handed over a communication regarding transfer of 150 metre sea facing berth at the Indira Dock to Indian Coast Guard.  MbPT  Chairperson R Parmar said “this was a long standing demand of Coast Guard, as it needs to be in a state of preparedness for emergencies and pollution control operations.    The Minister also handed over a communication granting sea-space at Girgaum Chowpatty  to Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, MTDC.  This facility at Chowpatty will be used by MTDC to start  its proposed amphibian sea-plane services.
Gadkari calls a pragmatic Land Acquisition Law
On the occasion of the Silver Jubilee celebration of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, JNPT in Mumbai on Wednesday evening,  Mr Gadkari stressed on the need for a pragmatic land acquisition law to facilitate balanced development.  “The present Land Acquisition Act with its stringent provisions discourages coming up of any project” he said.  The minister said due compensation for land should be paid, but it should not make the projects unviable. “There can be no compromise on compensation and rehabilitation” he added.
Mr. Gadkari, who also holds the additional charge of the Rural Development, following the tragic demise of Gopinath Munde, has called a meeting of revenue ministers of all states in New Delhi on June 27, to  review and discuss the present Land Acquisition law entitled “Right To Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act.