City BJP chief and local MLA meets aggrieved residents on Sunday, assures them the station will go back to where it was meant to be
BJP MLA Ashish Shelar with the residents of Tata Blocks, Bandra West, on Sunday. Pic/Shadab Khan
MMRDA will have to follow the CM’s order and move the planned Metro station back to its original site no matter what the cost, Bandra West MLA Ashish Shelar assured local residents who were restless in the absence of a formal announcement by MMRDA. The CM last week directed the MMRDA boss to take measures, after Shelar sought his intervention to save Sadhu Vaswani Garden from the move.
Shelar, the president of BJP’s Mumbai unit, met Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Metropolitan Commissioner of MMRDA S V R Srinivas on March 2 to discuss the residents’ concerns regarding the development authority’s plan to move a station on the Metro 2B corridor. Shinde had told Srinivas to take appropriate action in this regard.
The MMRDA, however, is yet to publicly announce its stand to resolve the National College Metro station shifting controversy. Shelar, however, has assured residents that the re-shifting will happen even if the planning agency has to bear a loss.
MLA Ashish Shelar speaks to residents of Tata Blocks, at Sadhu Vaswani Udyan, on Sunday. Pic/Shadab Khan
“I already met the CM and it had been made clear that the station was shifted discreetly without notifying or consulting either the residents or even the elected representatives. The residents brought this move to my notice. The work on the station at the new location has already begun, hence re-shifting might be a little difficult and even lead to some losses, however, it was all MMRDA’s mistake,” Shelar said.
Pushing the ball in MMRDA’s court, he added, “I assure you nothing will happen to Sadhu Vaswani Garden and the MMRDA will have to resolve the matter. What MMRDA wants to do now and how is their problem, as they did not inform us before deciding to shift the station.”
As per the earlier plan, one of the two Bandra West Metro stations — National College — was to come up a little ahead of Tata Blocks and nearby societies. However, the MMRDA moved the station site to HP junction, which the residents feared would affect their only green space — Sadhu Vaswani Garden.
Dr Shiraz Vazifdar, a resident who has a gynaecology clinic on S V Road, said, “The meeting [on Sunday] has given a ray of hope to all the residents and stakeholders in the area. Shelar was affirmative about the station re-shifting from the HP junction. We will have countless problems if the Metro station comes up here. Most concerning factor is that Sadhu Vaswani Garden will be destroyed. The station will block access to Tata Blocks permanently, causing great inconvenience to the many senior citizens living in the Parsi colony. They will have to take a detour of 1 km if they want to go to Nanavati hospital or anywhere in that direction. It would also affect the entry of ambulances and fire engines in case of emergencies.”
“My clinic is in the Deccan court building just next to the Shroff Eye hospital; there will be huge traffic jams here. They can shift the station towards Khar as the next one after National College is in Santacruz. I don't think much work has been completed that they will incur any major loss. It is still possible to shift the station,” Dr Vazifdar added.
Ranjit Varde, another resident, said, “MLA Ashish Shelar has assured us that the station will be re-shifted no matter what and we trust him. We are thankful that the timely intervention of the elected representatives — Shelar and former corporator Swapna Mhatre — has saved our garden. However, we are yet to get any reply from the MMRDA confirming the same. A station at the busiest HP junction will only create more traffic congestion in the area.”
At the end of the meeting, Shelar told the residents that he will take care of the rest and that they don’t have to worry.
Meanwhile, the MMRDA continued to maintain that shifting the station back to the old location is not feasible. They are still working out a resolution to protect the garden, an official said.
Day BJP MLA Shelar met CM on the issue