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All eyes on Mopalwar as war room expedites ‘Shaktipeeth Expressway’

The War Room-Infrastructure Project in Maharashtra has swung into action, with all eyes set on Radheshyam Mopalwar, an IAS officer of 1995 batch, who has taken charge of this project in capacity as War Room DG.

All eyes on Mopalwar as war room expedites 'Shaktipeeth Expressway'
First Published Oct 25, 2023, 3:20 PM IST

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde is keen to fast-track the Shaktipeeth Expressway project. He has asked the War Room officials including its DG Radheshyam Mopalwar to pull out all the stops to ensure that Nagpur-Goa (Shaktipeeth Expressway) is expeditiously executed. The War Room-Infrastructure Project has swung into action, with all eyes set on Radheshyam Mopalwar, an IAS officer of 1995 batch, who has taken charge of this project in capacity as War Room DG.

The reason why the government is relying so much on Mopalwar for this project is his experience in the Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi Mahamarg project which is nearing completion now. As MD of Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), Mopalwar was involved in the Samruddhi Mahamarg project right from the beginning. He was behind every activity relating to the project, like Planning, land acquisition, labour management, execution, etc. That the project is being delivered on time goes to the credit of Mopalwar. His exposure to various factors leading to completion of this huge project of Samruddhi Mahamarg will help the Shaktipeeth Expressway project too. It would be constructed on the lines of Samruddhi expressway. The government is in the process of giving the final shape to the technical and feasibility report for this project. According to reports, with a total length of over 800-km, the Shaktipeeth Expressway would be the largest greenfield and access-controlled in Maharashtra. Samruddhi Mahamarg is 701 kms long. It has been named as Shaktipeeth Expressway as it would connect popular religious places like Mahur, Tuljapur, Kolhapur and Ambejogai famous for goddess temples such as Mahalaxmi, Tulja Bhavani, Patradevi and others.

The project requires a huge amount of effort on part of War Room for a gigantic task of land acquisition for the project. Other technical issues related to the expressway project would also come up. Mopalwar’s past experience with the Samruddhi Mahamarg project would be of great help. At the NITI Ayog meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, CM Eknath Shinde had shared details about the Samruddhi Corridor and Shaktipeeth Expressway. According to information, the CM was equipped with facts and figures which had been provided by Mopalwar for the meeting. The Samruddhi Mahamarg project is quite impressive as its major part was delivered in a time-bound manner, thanks to planning by Mopalwar.

In a recent interview to a website, Mopalwar  has said that the Nagpur-Goa expressway design and execution will be a significant challenge as it will traverse 13 districts connecting Vidarbha, Marathwada and Konkan and will be over 800 kms. Once completed, it would be one of the longest greenfield expressways in the country, along with Delhi-Mumbai and Samruddhi Mahamarg expressway.  

The Shinde-Fadnavis government is banking on Mopalwar, considering that he would be able to overcome all the challenges that come in the way of this project. After all, Samruddhi Mahamarg also traverses through ten districts of Maharashtra, and covers two thirds of the state. So, Mopalwar would be tackling all the challenges in Shaktipeeth Expressway which would pass through 13 districts. Mopalwar’s stint with MSRDC as its VC and MD would work a lot. He has been involved in various projects of MSRDC in the past. And now, while helming the War Room, he is again guiding the MSRDC on various ongoing and upcoming projects, with the Shaktipeeth expressway being one of them.  

“The Maharashtra Shaktipeeth Expressway is planned to connect three Shakti Peethas, two Jyotirlingas, and pilgrimage centres in east, west, and south Maharashtra. This will reduce travel time between Nagpur and Goa by 10 hours,” Shinde had told the NITI Ayog meeting. The theme of the meeting was Vikas Bharat@2047: Role of Team India. The phase I of Samruddhi Mahamarg was inaugurated by PM Modi on 11 December 2022. The Nagpur Shirdi stretch is around 520 kms. Officials have told some newspapers that PM Modi was quite happy with the Samruddhi Mahamarg which is in line with the central government’s plan to ensure huge infrastructure development in India. Mega infrastructure projects are the focus area of the Modi government. And Maharashtra has picked up the right path and speed to achieve the infra goals of the government. Bureaucrats and administrators having the efficiency like Mopalwar can only ensure implementation of such projects, feel the officials.

Mopalwar told a news website that the Shaktipeeth expressway would also link to the under construction Surat Chennai Economic Corridor by NHAI. It will lead up to the new Goa airport in Mopa. The project will definitely give a boost to tourism as it passes through various religious places. The area would see increased economic activities leading to a spike in employment opportunities. Shinde highlighted these aspects of the project during the meeting with PM Modi.

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