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Maharashtra to seek Central funds for Mumbai project

By Kalpana Sharma

MUMBAI, JAN. 6. In anticipation of the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh's visit to Mumbai tomorrow, the Maharashtra Government is preparing a detailed briefing on its project to transform Mumbai. A senior official in the State Government told The Hindu that they hoped to present it as a "project of national importance."

`Growth engine'

The State Government would suggest that investment in Mumbai would be good not just for the city but for the country, because it was "a growth engine for India," officials said. Investment in improving Mumbai's infrastructure, they argued, would have benefits that would go much further than the limits of the metropolis.

In the last two months, the corridors of the State Secretariat had been the scene of hectic meetings between Government officials and members of the Citizens' Action Forum that was working with the Maharashtra Government on plans to improve Mumbai. The Government had already presented its plans to the Planning Commission. These included plans to build a Mass Rapid Transport System (MRTS), a trans-harbour Link from Sewri to Nhava Sheva, likely to be one of the longest bridges in the world, a new airport at Navi Mumbai, improving Mumbai's crumbling housing stock and dealing with the growing slum problem. The appointment of the former Karnataka Chief Minister, S. M. Krishna, as Governor had given an impetus to the planning process. Mr. Krishna has met the Chief Minister and members of the planning group. Three representatives from the group, the special officer, Sanjay Ubale, the Additional Municipal Commissioner, Subrat Ratho and Narinder Nayyar from Bombay First, recently visited Bangalore to see how the Bangalore action task force set-up worked.

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