IN AN unprecedented turn of events in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday, the Congress and the Shiv Sena joined hands to reject a proposal to allot 17 plots for the Mumbai Metro 3 project.
The proposal to allot the land was placed before the general body by Prakash Gangadhare, senior BJP corporator and chairman of the Improvements Committee. However, Pravin Chheda, the newly appointed Opposition leader in the BMC and senior Congress corporator, demanded that the proposal be “recorded” as the state had not replied to queries raised by the civic body. The recording of a proposal effectively works as a rejection, sending it back to the administration.
“These 17 spaces are prime open spaces in the city. The proposal was passed in the Improvements Committee with certain conditions… Many letters have been sent in this regard to the state government but it has failed to answer.
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So, I moved an amendment suggestion to record the proposal, stating that it should be recorded till we get the government’s reply. All the parties, including BJP, were silent and did not oppose it,” said Chheda, who was named Opposition leader in the BMC, last week.
After Chheda moved the amendment, it was supported by Trushna Vishwasrao, leader of the House and senior Shiv Sena corporator.
Subsequently, Mayor Snehal Ambekar put the amendment before the general body for a simple vote, following which it was passed.
The BJP condemned the Congress and Shiv Sena’s opposition to the project and accused them of stalling the city’s development projects.
“The strange alliance of Congress and Sena is against the city’s development. The Congress, which supported the Mumbai Metro project, is an agent of private players. Shockingly, the Congress’s stance on the project seems to have changed after the new Opposition leader was named recently,” said Gangadhare, adding that the Sena’s stand of rejecting a state government-backed proposal is beyond understanding.
The Shiv Sena has maintained that its opposition to Metro 3 is to protect the rights of the Marathi-speaking people in danger of being displaced due to the project, mainly in areas around Girgaum.
On January 27 this year, the Improvements Committee headed by BJP passed the proposal to hand over 7,796-square metre of land spread across 17 different locations in the city on a permanent basis to Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation, for the construction of the Rs 23,136-crore Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro 3 project.
The plots include prominent open spaces, gardens, parking lots and land for a fire brigade centre. They will be used to construct metro stations, ventilation shafts, godowns, among others. In January, the Congress had backed the proposal, even saying that the project had been kick-started by them.