Ajni IMS is off if state does not allot alternative land: Gadkari
Nagpur: Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari has made it clear that his dream project, the Inter-Modal Station (IMS) at Ajni, which has been mired in controversies, is now as good as dropped at the proposed location. A proposal has been put up with the state government to get alternative land in the vicinity.
The new proposal includes land from the existing Central Jail premises, Food Corporation of India (FCI) campus, part of railway land, and irrigation colony. “If the new patch is allotted by the state, we may go ahead with the project. In case the state does not, the idea would be dropped altogether,” said the minister.
Gadkari has earlier said these areas were to be taken up in the subsequent phases of the IMS project. Now, the main project itself is expected to come up on these sites.
“If the project is dropped, even the Rs1,300 crore allotted for the IMS project will lapse,” said Gadkari to TOI on the sidelines of a press conference.
Appearing dejected, Gadkari said too much opposition and litigation had made him lose interest in the project. Even the contractor had fled due to inordinate delay. With this, Gadkari has made up his mind to give up the idea. Even environment clearance is awaited from the state government for the IMS project at the existing site at Ajni, he said.
Gadkari said now it is up to the state government to agree and transfer land for IMS at the new sites. He hinted that if the state government does not agree for alternative land too, then IMS may not see the light of the day.
Gadkari said he would contact state environment minister Aditya Thackeray to discuss this issue soon. Thackeray had last month visited Ajni Vann area on the request of activists who are opposing the project. Thackeray had also suggested shifting the project to an alternative site like Khapri, as was demanded by pro-environment activists.
Gadkari reiterated that if people don’t want the project, even he is not interested.
The present site is referred to as Ajni Vann on account thick vegetation and habitat of varied species of birds there. Environmentalists are opposing the project on the grounds that felling of trees here would lead to violation of Maharashtra Urban Tree Act 1965. Based on recent guidelines of Forest Survey of India (FSI), they also refer to the area as an urban forest. According to FSI, any area with 10% tree canopy in one hectare of land is an urban forest, said an environment crusader. Even otherwise, any area with a collection of trees can be an urban forest, an environmentalist added.
Gadkari, on the other hand, says as many as 2,700 trees in the existing Ajni Vann area are of species which can be felled.
Earlier, during a visit to TOI, he had declared his intent to drop the project if people did not want it. Later, it was said the project will not happen on the land subject to controversy on account of ecological concerns. Now, he has said that if the new site of jail, FCI and railway land is not allotted by the state, the IMS will not happen at all.
Khasdar Industries Mahotsav from Mar 12-14
Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari said a three-day Khasdar Udyogic Mahotsav will be held in the city from March 12 to 14. This is on the lines of series of events under the series of Khasdar Sanskrutik and Krida Mahotsav for culture and sports respectively. This would be the first such expo for industries. Gadkari has included MPs and MLAs of entire region cutting across party lines for this event.
Gadkari, who earlier also held the MSME ministry, said the changes he made in the criterion has bought the benefit of MSMEs to a large number of units.
The event to be held at MIA House, Hingna, will provide a platform to the industry of entire Vidarbha to showcase their products.
gadkari: Ajni IMS is off if state does not allot alternative land: Nitin Gadkari | Nagpur News - Times of India