Determined to take the construction of Metro Line III forward, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis assured that the concerns of environmentalists and project-affected people would also be addressed
Dismissing demands that the Metro III project be scrapped, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said yesterday that the line will be built, come what may.
The CM also reiterated in the Assembly yesterday that the proposed car shed in Aarey Colony could be shifted to a new location and that a panel of experts would suggest a new site for the same. File Pic/PTI
But he gave assurances that the authorities would address the concerns expressed by environmentalists, as well as residents who fear dislocation. Fadnavis’ statement in the legislative assembly could be perceived as a dig at the Shiv Sena youth leader Aaditya Thackeray, who had demanded that the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro corridor be scrapped.
Accusing the Metro authorities of designing the line in a manner that would displace Marathi-speaking families in south Mumbai’s Girgaum area, the Sena had asked that Line III’s route be diverted, as that part of the city was already well-connected by the suburban railway network and did not need the Metro.
As things stand, Metro III’s construction is expected to hit residents of Annapurna Building in Kranti Nagar, as well as Ekta Niwas and Dhoot Papeshwar buildings in Girgaum.
The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) has reassured in situ rehabilitation to these residents when it heard their concerns last week. Fadnavis admitted that most of the 777 project-affected families were Marathi-speaking, but added that the Metro developer would take utmost care in relocating them in the vicinity of their current residence.
In fact, MMRC also assured people that it might even be possible to reconstruct the buildings at the same location after the Metro project is completed, adding that they would study this possibility and come up with a draft plan. Only after discussing the plans with the residents and after obtaining their consent will the project be sent to the government for approval, said officials.
In light of the mounting opposition from environmentalists who fear that the Metro will not only result in nearly 2,300 trees being axed, but also the destruction of habitat for wildlife in Aarey Colony (where the car depot is to be built) Fadnavis reiterated in the Assembly yesterday that the car shed could be shifted to new location and that a panel of experts would suggest a new site for the same.
In other news, the CM also announced that international deals that are inked in the city will not be taxed henceforth. This will encourage the government’s efforts to make the city an international financial hub, said Fadnavis. According to him, global financial activity had shifted to places like Singapore ever since the state government started taxing deals that pertain to activities in other countries. “International companies complained to us that if they finalised deals in Mumbai, they would need to pay tax twice in Maharashtra, and in the country where they set up the industry,” he explained.