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Saturday, 12 November 2011

Anna Hazare not a poll factor: Prithviraj Chavan

MUMBAI: Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday said anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare would not have a big impact on the elections to the various urban local bodies in the state.

Most of the civic polls in the state will take place between December this year and March next year. The BMC election will be held in February.

Speaking to a select group of mediapersons, Chavan said, "While corruption and price rise will be factors, concerns over these have existed even before Hazare started his Lokpal movement." He said Lokpal alone will not weed out corruption. "There is a need for a grand architecture against corruption," he said. Chavan also disapproved of the use of emotive issues like the Marathi versus North Indian debate as a poll plank.

Not happy to file plaint against Lavasa Chavan said he was not happy to file a criminal complaint against Lavasa Corporation but did so following a court directive. He had requested the Centre to grant environmental clearance to the projects only after fulfillment of all conditions prescribed by the Centre. Chavan admitted that adequate attention was not paid to environmental clearance while approving certain projects in the past.

Tried hard to get Maruti plant

The CM said the state was in touch with Maruti for setting up a plant in the state. Maruti, however, chose Mundhra in Gujarat, citing better port connectivity. Chavan admitted to delays in development of small ports in the state, while dispelling the belief that businesses were shifting out of Maharashtra. "The state remains a leader in investment and industrialization," he said, while insisting on maintaining quality of investment to retain edge over other states.

New formula for Navi Mumbai airport?

Admitting that acquisition of land was a challenge for projects like the Navi Mumbai international airport and Mihan, Chavan hinted at a new formula for project-affected people in the Navi Mumbai project. He said that the option of permitting PAPs a regular share from profits was under consideration.

On a year as coalition head

Counting initiatives to bring in fiscal discipline and transparency in administration, Chavan downplayed the criticism meted out on delays in decision-making by claiming that his government had focused on complicated policy changes, which had been pending. Admitting to challenges in running a coalition, he controversially remarked that some ministers ran departments as if they were owners. Coordination at times got difficult but such things are present in all coalitions, he said. He, however, refused to drop any names.


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