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Metro Car Shed Land Issue Can be Resolved Via Dialogue, Says Uddhav Thackeray

File photo of Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray. (PTI)

File photo of Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray. (PTI)

Addressing people of Maharashtra through a live web cast, Thackeray lamented that the central government moved court against the state over the issue.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said he was open for resolution of the Kanjurmarg Metro car shed land issue through dialogue. Addressing people of Maharashtra through a live web cast, Thackeray lamented that the central government moved court against the state over the issue.

"We have all documents to prove that the land belongs to the state government. If there is a controversy over the ownership of land, the issue can be resolved through dialogue," Thackeray said. Should the land be allowed to go because of ownership issues and should it be given to builders? he asked.

Referring to the criticism from BJP leaders, he said, "The issue on Kanjurmarg land is not about my ego and it shouldn't be about yours too." The Bombay High Court on Wednesday stayed the order passed by Mumbai suburban district collector allotting 102 acres of salt pan land in Kanjurmarg area here for the construction of an integrated metro car shed. A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni also restrained the authorities from carrying out any construction work at the said land.

The Centre and the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government are locked in a tussle over ownership of the land earmarked by the state for constructing the car shed depot which was earlier planned at Aarey Colony, a green belt in suburban Goregaon. The previous BJP-led government in the state had decided to construct the car shed for the Mumbai Metro line 3 at Aarey Colony, despite opposition from environmentalists and activists to the vast tree-cutting for the project.

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Senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday dismissed Thackeray’s contention that relocating the metro car shed project to Kanjurmarg from Aarey Colony in Mumbai would serve future needs, including availability of land that might be needed for expansion of the infrastructure for metro lines. Fadnavis, who is the Leader of Opposition in the state Legislative Assembly, said it seemed the CM has not read a report of a high-powered committee set up by his own government on the “financial implications" associated with relocating the project site.

Fadnavis said in a statement that the BJP didn’t believe in working for taking credit.

“Why are you hiding the fact that the construction work at Aarey cannot be stopped even if the carshed is shifted to Kanjurmarg? The (construction of) underground tunnels is being carried out keeping in mind the Aarey land…The work is 80 per cent complete," Fadnavis said. He reiterated that relocating the carshed project from Aarey will “result into waste of time and money".

The BJP leader said it (site of the carshed) was not a prestige issue for his and and his party. “People of Mumbai have already suffered a lot. They shouldnt be subjected to more trouble," he said.

The High Court on Wednesday stayed the order passed by Mumbai suburban district collector allotting 102 acres of salt pan land in Kanjurmarg area here for the construction of an integrated metro car shed. A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni also restrained the authorities from carrying out any construction work at the said land.

“We did not create obstruction. If you create problems in Kanjurmarg and we do in the BKC, creating problems in each others projectswill serve no purpose," he said. There should not be a haste in development, he said.

The present Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government — comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress — recently took a decision to shift the car shed from Aarey to Kanjurmarg. Thackeray said Aarey car shed spread over 30 hectares was just for Metro line 3, while the 40 hectare Kanjurmarg land would be used for a car shed for Metro lines 3, 4 and 6.

It will also be a junction for Metro line 14, which will go up to Ambernath and Badlapur (in neighbouring Thane), Thackeray said justifying the choice of land at Kanjurmarg for the Metro car shed. He said the "costliest" land in the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) here was given for the central government's bullet train project, despite opposition.

"We did not create obstruction. If you create problems in Kanjurmarg and we do in the BKC, creating problems in each others projectswill serve no purpose," he said. There should not be a haste in development, he said.

Development should be long-lasting, the CM said, adding the Kanjurmarg project will be useful for next 50 to 100 years. He said there was also opposition to the Samruddhi expressway project (connecting Mumbai-Nagpur), but the issues were resolved.

"Similarly, the fishing community at Vadhavan in Dahanu (in neighbouring Palghar) is opposing the central government's port project. I have heard out the farmers' grievances," he said.

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first published:December 20, 2020, 15:24 IST