Mumbai: On the eve of the union minister Gopinath Munde's first death anniversary, the state government has given a green signal to his dream project - a railway line connecting his small home village in rural Maharashtra, officials said here on Wednesday.
Munde, 65, a fire-brand young leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rural Development Minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet was killed in a road accident in New Delhi on June 3, 2014.
On Tuesday, the Maharashtra cabinet granted approval to the long pending Ahmednagar-Beed-Parli Vaijnath railway line which will be a boon to the development of the backward, parched areas of Marathwada region of central Maharashtra.
"The project is a tribute to the late Munde Saheb... The project which was dear to him will now become a reality... The central government has already given its consent. Today we have given the approval for our 50 percent share of funds for the project," Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on the occasion.
The state and central governments will share 50 percent of the the Rs.2,826 crore total cost for constructing the 261 kms long railway line, one of the major such projects of the Indian railways in the mofussil regions.
The project had been hanging fire for long and was first approved in 2009 by the state government on a similar cost-sharing basis.
At that time, the total cost was estimated at Rs.1,010 crore, with the state-centre ratio coming to barely Rs.505 crore each, but it is now escalated to nearly three times due to various reasons.
Marking Munde's first anniversary on Wednesday, his nephew and once political heir Dhananjay Munde, who is now with Nationalist Congress Party and Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council, offered floral tributes to his uncle in Mumbai.
The Mumbai BJP led by Ashish Shelar has announced a three-day programme to plant 51,000 saplings in Mumbai as a tribute to Munde's memory.
Similar commemorative events have been planned for the day in Mumbai, Beed and his native Parli Vaijnath village and other parts of the state.
Munde's daughter Pankaja Munde is a cabinet minister in Maharashtra, while his second daughter Pritam is a Lok Sabha member from Beed constituency.
Besides them, Gopinath Munde - the brother-in-law of the late BJP strongman Pramod Mahajan, who died nine years ago - is survived by his widow Pradnya and a third daughter Yashashri.