Will Shiv Sena put brakes on Metro-Monorail project?
Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s (MMRDA) ambitious Metro II may hit a major roadblock this time from its biggest critic Shiv Sena.
Subhash Desai, the group leader of the party in the Assembly and MLA from Goregaon, has raised his voice against the proposed metro and monorail car shed at Goregaon spread across 47 hectares.
The basic apprehension expressed by the leader is that construction of the depot will leave the locals with no open spaces.
The area demanded by the authority comprises three recreation grounds, seven playgrounds, four gardens, a municipal market, primary and secondary municipal schools, and roads connecting various important places of the vicinity.
The bhoomi pujan for Metro II was done in August 2009, but till date nothing further has happened. If Sena sticks to its guns, the future of Metro II doesn’t appear too bright.
According to MMRDA insiders, the contractors have plainly told the authority that to go ahead with the plan of Metro II connecting Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd, they need space for casting yard and car depot, where they can construct girders and assemble other important trappings. Work would be difficult to commence, without the provisions. “The implementation of the project wouldn’t start unless we get the car depot. Phase I also began only after the car depot was finalised,” said Dilip Kawathkar, joint project director, MMRDA.
Both Charkop and Mankhurd have already been identified as environmentally sensitive zones. Hence, MMRDA was forced to look for new sites and it identified this particular one in Goregaon.
The authority had last year approached the municipal corporation for consent on change in reservations and the entire 47-hectare plot to be allotted to it for the metro and monorail depot.
The MLA claims that the change in reservation would lead to drastic problems in the neighbourhood. “The erasure of roads would cut off many societies and would lead to heavy traffic jams. Residents will have to face major problems in terms of public utility services,” said Desai.
MMRDA is aware of the opposition from Sena. Kawathkar maintains that the authority has identified a few locations.
But as one is stuck with Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), it zeroed in on the Goregaon plot.
“We approached the government of Maharashtra for the plot, but the Sena MLA is opposing its handover. We are certain the government will agree to our proposal,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kawathkar claims that the Metro II delay is because of technical reasons. “We are awaiting permissions from MoEF. Every project now needs similar sanctions and it would be wrong to go ahead without them,” he said.