Maharashtra is one of the few states which have a very poor record on infrastructure front despite being rich. The reason behind this is the ignorance of infrastructure by the previous governments. The incumbent government in the state as well as in centre keeps infrastructure on the top priority in the list. It has brought many high-end projects like Bullet Train, Sagaramala to revolutionize the connectivity in the country. The Maharashtra state got many projects in the last four years from the state as well as central government. The Bullet train will run through the state, the metro work in Mumbai is going with phenomenal speed and highways construction is at an all-time high. The Hyperloop project which aims to reduce the travel time between Mumbai and Pune to four hours is also being explored.
One of the problems with the state infrastructure is that the different regions are not well connected. Mumbai, Northern Maharashtra, and Western Maharashtra are much better connected to neighboring states of Gujarat, Goa, and Karnataka than Marathwada and Vidarbha. The Fadnavis government took the intrastate connectivity very seriously and in the very first budget proposed a highway between Nagpur and Mumbai. The Nagpur-Mumbai Super Expressway is also known by the name of Samruddhi Expressway because it is expected to bring prosperity in the Vidarbha and Marathwada region which are very poor in comparison to the Mumbai, Pune Nashik triangle which constitutes one of the richest regions of the country. The state faces one of the highest regional disparity in the country as some regions are packed with millionaires while in some other regions the farmers are forced to commit suicide because they are unable to pay loans. This highway is a visionary step by Fadnavis government to minimize the intra-state disparity.
Now in another step to connect Mumbai with the poorer regions of the state, the Indian railway is planning to construct a dedicated high-speed railway line alongside the under-construction Nagpur-Mumbai Super Expressway. The connectivity between these two big cities of the state is very poor, there is no train on daily basis, and only 4 trains on weekly basis. These trains take 15-22 hours to cover the 834 km distance. The newly proposed railway line is expected to bring down the travel time to 5 hours which means passengers will save 10 to 15 hours on the journey between Nagpur and Mumbai. “The line will run parallel to the Expressway and benefit thousands of passengers, farmers, and traders, in both directions,” Piyush Goyal said. As per the ministry statement “The trains will run at a speed of up to 120 kmph and help reduce the travel time in the congested sections, The proposed train will equip the daily commuters with the option of faster, easy, time-saving, air-conditioned travel.”
This step by railways minister Piyush Goyal is laudable because previous ministers who mostly came from the Indo-Gangetic plain ignored the needs of Maharashtra. The new trains were introduced mostly on the already well connected northern India. Although the new trains in north India was also a populist move because no new line was introduced and the already congested previous lines have carried the weights of new trains. This was the main reason behind many train accidents in the country. The Modi government is spending on infrastructure in every part of the country according to their needs without any attempt to appease the people of a particular region with populist policies unlike the previous governments and ministers.
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