Ruling BJP today questioned ally Shiv Sena’s “sudden” opposition to the proposed Mumbai Metro Line 3 (MML-3) plan and said its stand was based on “unfounded and exaggerated” arguments.
The MML-3 project, a 33.5km-long underground corridor running along Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ (Andheri), envisages to decongest the traffic situation in Mumbai. The Sena has been opposing the project on the ground a large number of residents will be displaced and there was no clear rehabilitation plan.
Speaking to reporters at state BJP office here today, Ashish Shelar, Mumbai unit President of the party, alleged the Sena, in collusion with Opposition Congress, is opposing the project because it wants to protect vested interest of some builders engaged in redevelopment projects in South Mumbai (covered under the corridor).
He said Mumbai Metro Rail Corp (MMRC) had applied to the Sena-ruled BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) for 17 plots for the project on 30-year lease and that, too, while accepting 47 conditions. “The BMC, without any debate,rejected the proposal at its Improvement Committee meeting.”
All of a “sudden” the Sena made a volte-face and began raising questions about the impact of underground line on the buildings in Khetwadi, Girgaum and Hutatma Chowk in South Mumbai, Shelar said.
He said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, while replying to a debate in the Assembly, had categorically assured that the tenants of the affected buildings will be rehabilitated “in situ” (at same site).
Shelar said the government has managed to save 16 of the 34 buildings in South Mumbai from being shifted. The number of project affected families (PAF) were reduced from 894 to 643. Under rehabilitation provision, PAFs are to get flats that would be double the size of their existing houses.
Referring to the Sena argument of Mumbai being in a seismic zone where 7-8 magnitude earthquakes could occur, he said the tunnel work is to take place 20 meters below the hard rock strata and hence no building above will be in any danger.
Shelar said the Sena’s opposition to the BJP’s pet project was based on “unfounded and exaggerated” arguments.
He said the project will not only reduce pollution levels along the corridor, but save fuel, create jobs for 12,000 youths and benefit around 17 lakh commuters by 2021.
“When the Versova-Ghatkopar Metro I line was being constructed the Sena did not raise any objection. It also kept mum when 2,765 Marathi-speaking people were displaced during the widening of the Andheri-Ghatkopar link road,” he said.
Shelar said the timing of Sena opposition coincides with the tender process reaching finalisation stage and wondered if the stand was intended to scare away participating companies.