THE CENTRE’S push to the much-delayed Pune Metro rail project has given a boost to BJP’s confidence of gaining power, ahead of the 2017 civic elections.
This has led other political parties, including the ruling NCP in Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), allege that the BJP deliberately delayed the project in the past to cash in on it just ahead of the civic polls.
The BJP leaders were fast to claim the credit for pushing the Pune Metro rail. Guardian minister Girish Bapat attended the PIB meeting along with the state as well as PMC officers. After the meeting, Bapat said, “It was his prime responsibility to see that the Pune Metro rail project gets implemented as soon as possible. The project has been pending for years with previous Congress-NCP-led government.”
He said that he would push it further to ensure that the foundation stone is laid for the project as soon as possible. “We would like to see Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis lay the foundation stone for the Pune Metro rail,” Bapat said.
City BJP MP Anil Shirole said, “I am satisfied to fulfill the three promises of Smart City, new international airport and Pune Metro rail project being implemented in the city in the first two years of becoming MP. The citizens should now get BJP to power in PMC with full majority for effective implementation of the three projects.”
The ceremony to lay the foundation stone of the Pune Metro rail is likely to take place soon after it gets the approval of Cabinet, he added.
Mayor Prashant Jagtap of NCP welcomed the decision of Public Investment Board (PIB) of Union finance ministry to recommend proposal to the Union cabinet for final approval but criticised the BJP for the delay.
“It has been two years that the BJP came to power in state and the Centre but they deliberately delayed the approval of Pune Metro rail project. The Nagpur Metro rail project was given a nod ahead of Assembly elections but the Pune Metro rail project was kept pending,” he said.
The project cost has been increasing due to delay, Jagtap said, adding, “The BJP leaders are responsible for the delay due to differences within themselves. They have put financial burden on citizens as the project cost increased due to the delay.”
Shiv Sena leader Ashok Harnaval said that there have been mere announcements of the Pune Metro rail but the citizens would only believe when they see the Metro functional.
“The Pune Metro rail is a good public transport system but should be affordable to citizens to make a difference in the traffic situation,” he said, adding that the Pune citizens were unfortunate to see the delay in project approval as compared to the Nagpur where the Metro rail was approved in 2014.
MNS leader Kishor Shinde said the delay in Pune Metro rail approval was mainly due to hurdles created by BJP MP and it has escalated the project cost.
“The BJP is trying to take the credit for it after causing problems for its approval. Their intention is to get voters’ attention ahead of the civic polls,” he said.