Mumbai: The Maharashtra government led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday (October 11, 2020) announced that the proposed new car shed for Mumbai Metro will be shifted to save the forests of Aarey Colony in Goregaon. The metro shed car will now be set up at a new location at Kanjurmarg.
“We have decided to construct the car shed on government land at Kanjurmarg, entailing no additional financial burden on the exchequer. The expenditure of around Rs 100 crore spent on a building at Aarey Colony will not go waste as it will be deployed for an appropriate use,” Thackeray said in an address.
“Two Metro corridors — Colaba-Bandra-Seepz (Line 3) and Swami Samarth Nagar-Vikhroli (Line 6) — shall be integrated. I am happy to announce that the Aarey car shed is now being moved to Kanjurmarg,” he said.
Also, the CM said that the cases filed against activists and groups who had agitated to protect the Aarey Colony forest will be withdrawn.
“Aarey Saved!” was the telling tweet of Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray – who had last year warned of dealing appropriately with “the murderers of Aarey Colony forests”.
Meanwhile, the opposition BJP slammed the move, arguing that it will cost an additional Rs 5,000 crore and delay the project by five years, besides an additional 8-km run daily to park the trains, adding to operating costs.
The move comes exactly a year after the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) authorities in early October 2019, ordered butchering of a staggering 2,141 trees in 40 hours – or at the rate of one tree per minute, creating a nationwide furore. (IANS report October 10, 2019)
It had become a major source of dispute between the BJP and allies Shiv Sena, just weeks before the October 2019 state Assembly polls.
Amid the uproar and the subsequent poll verdict of a hung assembly, the Shiv Sena joined hands with Nationalist Congress Party and Congress to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi government with Thackeray as the Chief Minister in November 2019.