Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s whirlwind tours across the globe. “If you missed noticing the project in the country, we had invited bids from international contractors. I’m sure you would not have missed it while touring these countries,” he said.
The Sena president was speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Coastal Road project at the Amarsons Garden in Breach Candy. The ceremony came abruptly and over a month after the civic body began preliminary work for the Rs 12,000-crore project. Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar had written to the civic chief asking that the ceremony be organised on Sunday. The event came ahead of Modi’s visit to the city on Tuesday, where he will preside over similar ground-breaking ceremonies for various infrastructure projects.
Race to grab credit amid fishermen’s concerns
Ahead of Sunday’s ‘bhoomipujan’ for the Coastal Road project, the city witnessed a poster war between allies Shiv Sena and the BJP, both keen to take credit for the project, especially in view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Mumbai’s far suburbs on Tuesday, where he will preside over similar ground-breaking ceremonies for various infrastructure projects. Meanwhile, fishermen from Worli are still worried at how the road may affect their livelihood. Meetings and negotiations among party leaders may have led to the fisherfolk’s elected representatives calling off their opposition for now, but no scientific survey or response is available to respond to their contention that the catch off Mumbai has changed dramatically in recent years and new seaward construction may alter their business further.
BJP corporators, MLAs and other BJP leaders in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation gave Sunday’s event a miss. BJP leaders hinted that the Sena’s abrupt plan did not go down well with the party top brass in state.
Mahadeshwar took a potshot at BJP’s “acche din” catch phrase. “Many people said ‘acche din’ will come four years back. I don’t know if they are here or not but we (Sena) made a promise of the Coastal Road and we are delivering it to the citizens. We deliver what we promise,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Sena chief assured fishermen from Worli that their livelihood will not be affected and he will address all their concerns. The fishermen had protested against the project, fearing it would affect their livelihood. Thackeray has called a meeting with the fishermen’s organisation on Tuesday. The move came after Thackeray’s cousin and MNS chief Raj Thackeray visited Worli Koliwada on Sunday morning. “Concerns of native citizens of Mumbai should be addressed. Everything is possible if people related to the project decide to do so,” the MNS chief said.
The 9.98-km-long road running along the west coast of the city from Marine Drive to the south end of Bandra Worli sea link is expected to be completed in the next four years.