Mumbai: Shiv Sena, BJP bicker over credit for bridge that is still on paper

Proposal was passed by the standing committee last week, and each party credits their leader for it; bridge still needs MoEF’s approval

After spending months burning their bridges to achieve political dominance over each other, friends-turned-foes BJP and Shiv Sena have now pulled another bridge into their war – the proposed bridge over the mangrove patch between Lokhandwala and Yari Road.

A cable-stayed bridge is proposed to be built over this mangrove patch, to connect Yari Road in Versova with Sardar Vallabhai Patel Nagar, near Lokhandwala
A cable-stayed bridge is proposed to be built over this mangrove patch, to connect Yari Road in Versova with Sardar Vallabhai Patel Nagar, near Lokhandwala

With the BMC elections less than a year away, both parties are trying to grab credit for the fact that the proposal was cleared by the standing committee last week. Supporters of local Sena corporator and standing committee chairman Shailesh Phanse are locked in a war of words with the supporters of local BJP MLA Bharti Lavekar, with both sides announcing the bridge as their own victory.

Sena even put up this post online to show the similarity between their banner
Sena even put up this post online to show the similarity between their banner

Facebook war
Sena and BJP workers in Andheri West and especially Versova, put up hoardings congratulating their leaders for clearing the project, and also put up posts on their own Facebook pages, as well as that of their party’s. Now, Sena workers have alleged that the BJP supporters are not only trying to steal their credit, but have even copied the format of the Sena Facebook post.

The BJP banner, claiming that the BJP had even copied their design ideas
The BJP banner, claiming that the BJP had even copied their design ideas

One of the Sena office bearers in the Versova ward said, “It was our leader, Shailesh Phanse, who has consistently followed up with the concerned authorities so that the bridge can be constructed, and it was he who cleared the proposal. I seriously don’t know how the supporters of BJP MLA Bharti Lavekar can say that the proposal was passed because of her follow-up with the authorities.”

A BJP worker responded, “Let them say what they want to, but all that I want to say is that this is a result of follow-up done by our MLA. Everyone is aware what kind of development work we are doing.”

Premature credit
The fact is, this war for credit is premature, since the bridge is yet to receive final clearance from the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF), which is all-important since it will pass over the eco-sensitive mangroves. In order to cause minimum impact to the mangroves, the BMC is taking all the necessary measures, including an Environment Impact Assessment study.

Bridge trivia
40 minutes: Current time taken to go from Lokhandwala to Versova

5 minutes: Time it will take once the bridge is completed

200 metres: The length of the cable-stayed bridge

Rs 30 crore: The estimated cost of the project

56: The ward number where the bridge will come up

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