Will infrastructure projects act as a spoiler for elections 2019?

Updated: Mar 30, 2019, 08:26 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

Since the past two years, Mumbaikars have been vehemently opposing the Metro and Coastal Road projects

Will infrastructure projects act as a spoiler for elections 2019?
The Koli fisherwomen community is against the ongoing work of the Metro III project at Chirabazaar in Girgaon

Five years back when the current government came to power, development was their sole agenda, but political parties are in a fix this time, given the fact that all the major infra projects of the city have become a bane for the citizens. Since the past two years, Mumbaikars have been vehemently opposing the Metro and Coastal Road projects, and this time definitely they want their concerns to be heard.

Several residents, activists and community members are of the opinion that they were never heard and work on the projects started without any proper dialogue. Currently, a number of South Mumbai residents are opposing construction of the Coastal Road.

Environmental damage

According to them, the project would disturb the environment and eat into a large portion of the Tata Garden. Green activists and their supporters have also started the Save Aarey movement against the car shed for Metro III (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz).

Apart from these, the projects have also become a matter of concern for the Worli-Koliwada fisher folks. The Parsi community also opposed the plan for Metro line III, as it passes from underneath their sacred Atash Behrams. Not just this, even the residents of the Girgaum belt are upset with the politicians, as they had to leave their homes to pave way for the Metro line III.

Further, the Metro Line II B (DN Nagar - Mandale) has affected the residents of Juhu, Vile Parle and Bandra. They want the elevated corridor to be changed into an underground line just like the Metro line III. However, despite repeated attempts to reach out to the chief minister, they did not get any positive response.

Even the residents of Ghatkopar East and members associated with the Ghatkopar People's Forum have been demanding changes in the alignment of the Wadala – Thane –Kasarvadavli Metro line IV.

'All parties are the same'

Speaking to mid-day, Zoru Bhathena, an environmental activist, said, "All parties are the same for us. The Congress had planned the Coastal Road and Metro projects, but the current government is implementing it in a wrong manner. Their intention is to just show work instead of actually doing good work. By barricading roads in the city they are trying to show citizens that a lot of work is being done but in reality nothing is developing."

Anandini Thakoor, a resident and activist of Bandra, said, "We do not care which politician helps us get the Metro underground, but we want it to happen. There is so much chaos on the roads because of the elevated plans. If the line III can go underground then why not line II B?"

Sources from the Congress said that the work that has been executed was unlikely to be changed, and that they have never been a party to show false dreams to citizens. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a BJP leader said, "Only a handful of citizens are complaining against the Metro project. It will actually cater to the low and medium income group people who currently travel in packed locals. The Coastal Road will definitely be used by the South Mumbai residents once constructed, as it will help in commuting."

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