Mumbai to be next global hub for finance, trade and entertainment

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Mumbai | Published: February 7, 2015 1:15:16 AM

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday said he would fast-track the execution of major infrastructure...

Devendra Fadnavis, Mumbai Next, Anil Ambani, Mukesh Ambani, Arundhati BhattacharyaReliance ADAG chairman Anil Ambani and Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani shake hands during the ‘Mumbai Next’ seminar on Friday. Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry and State Bank of India chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya are also seen. (PTI)

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday said he would fast-track the execution of major infrastructure projects, completing the coastal road in two years and creating more financial centres within the metropolitan region of Mumbai on the lines of the Bandra Kurla Complex. Outlining the blueprint for Mumbai Next, Fadnavis said he would make it easier for promoters to do business and thereby attract investment into the state. The CM plans to turn Mumbai into a global financial, commercial and entertainment hub.

Setting ambitious deadlines for a few show-piece projects in the city, Fadnavis said that the government should be able to start the construction on the much-delayed R11,000-crore Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) by the end of 2015. The MTHL will connect Nhava Sheva in the extreme north to Sewri in the island city. The government, he said, hopes to call for bids for constructing the R8,000-crore coastal road project running from Nariman Point in the south to Kandivali, a distant suburb on the western suburban railway line of the city, by the end of 2015.

“I hope that all the requisite environment clearances for the project should be in place in the next three months, after which the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai will be able to call for bids for the construction of the project. Given there is not much displacement and rehabilitation issue in the project, the coastal road should be built in two years time,” Fadnavis said at the Mumbai Next seminar.

Mumbai Next is an ideas exchange platform for transforming the Mumbai Metropolitan Region as a global financial hub organised by the Maharashtra government and Mumbai First Foundation.

Arun Jaitley, Union finance minister, said the government will soon put in place a financing model to attract foreign direct investment FDI and institutional finance into India’s infrastructure sector. Addressing the summit via video link, Jaitley said, “All models of financing have to be explored. The country cannot solely rely on foreign investment, it needs to increase public spending, in the first stage, while also converting domestic savings into infrastructural financing.” The FM added that Mumbai being the financial capital is the engine of nation’s growth and welcomed the initiatives being taken by the Maharashtra government for attracting investment and boosting infrastructure.

Top industrialists Cyrus Mistry of the Tata Group and Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries, State Bank of India (SBI) chairman,Arundhati Bhattacharya and Anil Ambani of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, and Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, were among several bankers, policymakers and bureaucrats who participated in the summit.

Fadnavis also highlighted that his government is speeding up the approval process and that he has cleared 25 development plans in a span of two months. Some of the projects planned include a logistics hub in Bhiwandi near Thane in the northeast part of MMR and developing a new city in Kalyan and developing it into a smart city. He also said that the plans for developing NAINA (Navi Mumbai Airport Influence Notified Area) around the upcoming Navi Mumbai airport are currently on. Spread over 600 sq km, NAINA is being planned as a second planned township in the region with 30 new towns with themes like logistics, eco tourism, medical and so forth. Senior representatives of the Union government including Jaitley, urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu and minister of state for finance Jayant Sinha said the Centre is willing to provide support to Fadnavis’ plans for the MMR.

Naidu promised support to develop Mumbai as a global financial hub and said that the Maharashtra government’s focus should be on drinking water, sanitation, solid waste management, affordable housing, slum redevelopment and good public transport. He said his ministry will extend all support to the state in these areas.

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