December 29, 2020 3:39:16 am
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has dropped the idea of building the Mumbai Metro-3 carshed at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC). For now, at least. Of the firm view that the 102-acre land at Kanjurmarg earmarked by it for the project, which is now under litigation, was the most suitable for the project, the state government has instead decided to set up a high-level committee under Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar to re-examine the legal, technical and financial feasibility of building an integrated carshed at Kanjurmarg.
With a Bombay High Court stay halting the carshed construction work till February, the CS-headed panel will also be asked to look afresh for alternative locations to relocate the project. Sources confirmed that formal orders regarding the formation of the committee will be issued in a day or two.
This will be the third panel appointed for the carshed project. In 2015, the then Devendra Fadnavis-led state government had appointed a panel under then MMRDA chief UPS Madan. Later, in 2019, another committee was formed, headed by Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) Manoj Saunik, which was appointed by Thackeray himself for studying possible alternatives to the carshed location at Aarey.
On December 17, still smarting at the High Court’s stay on construction of the carshed at Kanjurmarg, the Shiv Sena had postured that the possibility of relocating the project on the BKC land, a portion of which has already been earmarked for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, was among the options being considered.
But, sources said that both Thackeray and NCP president Sharad Pawar were of the view that a “tit-for-tat” response to the Centre would send a wrong message and wouldn’t be good for the city’s development, confirmed sources. Also, the Saunik committee had found that a finished portion of an already tunneled portion for the Metro rail work would have to be redone if the carshed were to be built at the BKC land.
According to sources, the decision to form a new panel had also been taken in the wake of the Centre’s objection to build the carshed at Kanjurmarg in the absence of a detailed techno-financial feasibility study of building an integrated carshed at Kanjurmarg.
The Centre has written a letter to the state in this regard on December 1, before the court’s stay on the Kanjurmarg land. The Centre holds 50 per cent equity in the Mumbai Metro-3 project.
Also, the state administration, during the previous regime, had argued before various courts that the Kanjurmarg land was not a viable option, while justifying its move to build the carshed at Aarey. In wake of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s stance that an integrated carshed of three or more lines can be built at the Kanjurmarg facility, the new panel will be asked to report on its technical aspects, sources said.
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