CHIEF MINISTER Eknath Shinde has removed the stay on construction of a car shed in Mumbai’s Aarey Milk Colony for Metro-3, said additional chief secretary and Urban Development Department head Bhushan Gagrani on Thursday.
The government has also told the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation to mobilise contractors so that work can resume on the site. On Wednesday, the Urban Development Department and MMRC had a discussion on the matter, said officials.
Metro-3 will connect Navy Nagar and Seepz and the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government had dropped the Aarey Colony site for a car shed, opting for a 102-plot of land in Kanjurmarg.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that each day of delay is causing hardship to Mumbaikars. “The CM has taken this decision for Mumbaikars. This 40 km-Metro line will improve the lives of Mumbaikars,” he said.
The CM said, “If there is a delay, there will be cost escalation and we have taken loans…environmentalists must understand this. Nearly 17 lakh persons will travel on this route.”
Fadnavis added, “This Aarey plot was selected by the government led by Prithviraj Chavan (Congress-NCP) and my government (from 2014-2019) invited tenders and had a loan agreement with JICA. We got requests to shift this car shed to Kanjurmarg and we appointed a committee which said it was not feasible to shift. We still went to court and were told to pay Rs 3,000 crore and then they would give a decision. Then we finalised Aarey. Finally, when Uddhav Thackeray was appointed as CM, he constituted another committee which said shifting the car shed will lead to a cost escalation of Rs 22,000 crore…the decision to shift the car shed out of Aarey was taken because of ego, and not in the interest of Mumbaikars.”
Some Shiv Sena members had also said that the Mithi river would be flooded because of the car shed at Aarey. Fadnavis said, “Mithi river does not get flooded because of the proposed carshed, it gets flooded because of illegal structures on the banks of Mithi that were never checked by them (BMC controlled by Sena).”