January 29, 2015 2:02:49 am
Less than a week after Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray declared that his party would not hesitate to oppose its partner in the government, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), if it found injustice being perpetrated by it, Sena on Wednesday vociferously demonstrated against a showpiece infrastructure project — the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro.
Shiv Sena volunteers took to the streets at Thakurdwar, Charni Road, to oppose the shifting of residents from old buildings there to accommodate an underground station of the 33.5-km fully-underground Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro.
Pandurang Sakpal, a Shiv Sena leader from south Mumbai, said, “The Metro station will in some or the other way impact several buildings in the vicinity. Nearly 80 per cent of residents here are Maharashtrians. As it is, the Marathi-speaking population in Mumbai is on a decline. We are fighting for all residents who will be affected. The government has to be clearer and more transparent about its plans.”
Sakpal added that irrespective of the party having joined the state government with the BJP, its priority would always be to fight for the rights of the ‘sons of the soil.’ Last week, while addressing the Shiv Sena cadre on the birth anniversary of late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, Uddhav had said that the party had not been submissive by joining the BJP to form a government and it had only done so to bring about stability in the state. He had added that if need be, the party would rally against the government.
Sakpal pegged the number of buildings in this area that would be impacted by the project at 250 and demanded that the Mumbai Metro Rail Corp (MMRC), which is implementing the project, to change its alignment to a parallel road along Marine Lines.
However, Ashwini Bhide, managing director at the MMRC, said, “Only three or four buildings will be affected, and that too we have still not decided the buildings we will need. The station is completely underground and we only need space for the entry, exits and some related infrastructure. These are dilapidated buildings and we are looking at on-site redevelopment options. People should not unnecessarily panic.”
Bhide said if the buildings had already been redeveloped then the entry and exits would be planned in the open set-back area. Where redevelopment is in the works, the MMRC will encourage developers to get a no-objection from it so that provision can be made for space that the Metro project will need. For buildings where redevelopment is yet to begin, but is in the pipeline, the MMRC is in talks with the state housing authority to speed up the process.
“In any case, we won’t start work till redevelopment contracts are firmed up,” she added.
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