BJP, Shiv Sena fight to take credit as BMC starts work on coastal road

Nov 29, 2018, 22:10 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

The opposition has welcomed BMC's move, saying there is no need for a groundbreaking ceremony anymore, but BJP and Shiv Sena corporators are still fighting to take credit for the project

BJP, Shiv Sena fight to take credit as BMC starts work on coastal road
The opposition has welcomed BMC's move, saying there is no need for a ground breaking ceremony now that work has begun

While the BJP and Shiv Sena are at loggerheads once again over a 'ground breaking' issue surrounding the coastal road project, the BMC has quietly started constructing the road.
Civic commissioner Ajoy Mehta visited the site on Tuesday and green-lit the construction of the ambitious Rs 12,000-crore project. The opposition has welcomed BMC's move, saying there is no need for a ground breaking ceremony anymore, but BJP and Sena corporators are still fighting to take credit for the project.

BMC sources said the go-ahead was given keeping in mind the delay the project has already suffered. The work orders for the road were issued about two months ago, and any further delay would have led to contractors being slapped with penalties under the conditions of the tender. While Mehta was not available for comment, an official associated with the project said only planning work has been started. But the work is far ahead from that stage. BMC has begun constructing one of the most important portions of the road — the jetties near Amarsons garden at Breach Candy and Worli Sea Face. Moreover, the contractor has also begun the boring work at Haji Ali. The jetties will be used for mobilising resources that will arrive via sea. If sources are to be believed, this mobilisation has begun too.

The work on the project began on Tuesday
The work on the project began on Tuesday

Fixated on the ceremony
Regardless, BJP and Sena still have ceremonial priorities on their mind. Sena was supposedly willing to do the ceremony at the hands of their chief Uddhav Thackeray, but BJP is demanding full credit for the project, which is why they want one of their top leaders to do the ground breaking. Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, city mayor, said, "The ground breaking ceremony will definitely happen as it is our [Sena's] project. We are yet to finalise the date." Sources in the Sena said the date for the ceremony will be finalised this week. Sena corporators are still hopeful about carrying out the ceremony, and want at least one of the jetties to be ready. Meanwhile, BJP is planning on claiming an even greater stake in the project as the Bandra-Versova link road will also be a part of the coastal road. The party is already referring to coastal road project as a joint undertaking of the MSRDC and BMC.

Playing the credit card
mid-day reached out to Manoj Kotak, BJP's group leader, but he remained unavailable for comment. A BJP corporator, not willing to be named, said, "We are yet to decide on whom we want to invite for the ceremony, but it is our project. Also, MSRDC, which is a state government entity, will be constructing a party of the coastal road. The BJP has to be credited for the project, since our intervention helped in getting all the clearances." With BJP and Sena's ties turning sour over the years, taking credit for projects has become a regular issue, said civic officials. BMC did not want its ambitious coastal road project, which has been delayed in the past due to lack of permissions, to continue suffering.

Oppn welcomes move
BMC's initiative has been welcomed by the opposition parties, who say that the civic body has got its priorities right. Rais Shaikh of the Samajwadi Party said, "The commissioner has given priority to development over politics. We wholeheartedly welcome the move. Even if Sena does the [ground breaking] ceremony now, it will be of no use as the work has already begun, and the ceremony is supposed to be done before this."

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