Following this paper’s front page reports, city BJP boss throws weight behind residents’ plea to spare Sadhu Vaswani garden from station shift; in big boost, CM demands favourable action from MMRDA
BJP leader (second from left) Ashish Shelar, corporator Swapna Mhatre, CM Eknath Shinde and the MMRDA chief SVR Srinivas (extreme right) discuss the issue on Thursday
In the wake of mid-day’s extensive reportage on the MMRDA discreetly shifting a station on the Metro 2B corridor to a new location, without informing any stakeholders, Ashish Shelar, MLA of Bandra West and president of the BJP’s Mumbai unit, met Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Metropolitan Commissioner S V R Srinivas. Shelar has demanded that the National College station be re-shifted to its previous location. Shinde has directed the MMRDA chief to take appropriate action in this regard.
The meeting was held in the presence of former Bandra West BJP corporators Swapna Mhatre and Hetal Gala. As per the earlier plan for the Metro 2B corridor, there will be two stations in Bandra West—Bandra, which was to come up near the Lucky restaurant signal and National College, which was planned near Jivan Kiran Bungalow opposite Western Railway Employees Colony. According to residents, the latter had been shifted opposite Tata Blocks Parsi Colony, starting from Grace Galaxy hotel and extending up to the Maruti Auto Vista showroom on SV Road in Bandra.
Sadhu Vaswani Garden on SV Road, which will be affected should the Metro station be shifted. File Pics/Shadab Khan
The residents, under the aegis of the Varde Marg Residents’ Association recently submitted an objection letter to the MMRDA seeking an explanation after the shift. Shelar has submitted a letter to the CM, stating that neither locals nor he was consulted by the MMRDA about the significant change, which will not only inconvenience the locals but will also affect the area’s only green space, Sadhu Vaswani Garden. The MMRDA told mid-day that the Metro station was being shifted as it clashed with the BMC’s segmental sewer tunnel construction work.
Ashish Shelar, president, Mumbai unit, BJP
Shelar told mid-day, “I made a representation today to the MMRDA commissioner and chief minister. Even I wasn’t aware of this change in plan and that they had decided to change the location of the National College station. The station is needed much more at the previous location as thousands of students need it. There are many colleges located there, including National College, MMK College, Thadomal Shahani and others. The station at the new location might cause a nuisance to everyone and even endanger the existence of the only green space, Sadhu Vaswani Garden. Besides, the clash with the BMC tunnelling work that the MMRDA stated as one of the reasons for shifting the station is to be looked into as the BMC work is completed.”
He added, “Following our request, the CM has given us a positive assurance to re-shift the proposed Metro station to its originally planned location near the Jivan Kiran bungalow.” Meanwhile, residents are still awaiting MMRDA’s reply to the objection letter they submitted on February 27. No MMRDA official has contacted or replied to the residents yet.
Ongoing Metro 2B construction work near Tata Blocks in Bandra West
Xerxes Parakh, a senior citizen residing in Tata Blocks, said, “The move to shift the station backwards made no sense. The road is narrower than the old location; there is a garden in the way and this is the busiest junction. Also, previously, the station’s location was such that it was more beneficial for students and shoppers. Podar School, MMK college, National College and Thadomal Shahani college are all near the previous location. We expect MMRDA to be transparent and explain this to us, the stakeholders. We want to see the feasibility study they conducted while taking a decision to shift the station.”
Zameer Cyrus Palamkote, resident and joint chairman, Varde Marg Residents’ Association, said, “We are very grateful and convey our sincere thanks to MLA Ashish Shelar and ex-corporator Swapna Mhatre for intervening in this matter and listening to the genuine concerns of the citizens of Bandra. We will rest only when the MMRDA officially confirms that the station will be moved away from the HP junction and that Sadhu Vaswani Garden will not be affected. We also request the MMRDA to ensure that rigorous feasibility studies are conducted in the future and to consult transparently with all stakeholders, especially local citizens.”
Day in March when MLA met with MMRDA chief