Mumbai Metro land remark: Khadse clarifies, says no difference with CM

Mumbai: Maharashtra Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse today accused the media of distorting his statement on handing over of land for a metro car-shed and maintained all was well between himself and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis after the remark was contradicted by the latter.

A day after saying a decision has been taken to give 30 hectares of land for construction of a car-shed under metro phase-3 to city planning authority MMRDA, Khadse asserted his comment was taken out of context by a section of the media.

"I only replied to what was asked to me by a news channel. My comments should be seen in totality and not broken up. When I was asked if a decision has been taken to hand over the land, I said yes. And, when I was asked about the decision, I said the decision was to give the land to MMRDA," Khadse told reporters here. The senior Cabinet Minister said the original decision to hand over the land in question in Aarey Colony, a green belt, to the planning agency was taken on March 5, 2014 by the then Congress-NCP Government.

The proposal for the building of the car-shed in Aarey Colony in suburban Goregaon is being opposed by residents, parties and activists as it would require the felling of over 2,000 trees.

"It was not our decision to hand over the land to MMRDA. We were only carrying forward the decision taken by the previous government. But when residents and political parties raised objections, we set up a committee on March 11, 2015, comprising officials from IIT's Environment Department, the civic commissioner, officials from MMRDA and Delhi Metro, and the Urban Development Secretary," he said.

"We will get the committee's report within the next 8-10 days and if the committee does suggest an alternative place (for the car shed), we will look into it," Khadse said.

Soon after Khadse's statement yesterday, Fadnavis took to Twitter to counter the statement and termed it a "rumour". "No decision has been taken yet on Aarey land... (committee) report is still awaited," Fadnavis had tweeted.

Denying any difference with Fadnavis, Khadse maintained all was well between himself and the chief minister.

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