Aaditya Thackeray Says BJP Planned Metro Projects with 2019 Elections in Mind

Aaditya Thackeray Says BJP Planned Metro Projects with 2019 Elections in Mind

There have been several instances of a political back and forth between the current Maha Vikas Aghadi government and the previous BJP government led by ex-CM Devendra Fadnavis. The felling of trees at Aarey has been a contentious issue for a number of reasons and was also part of Shiv Sena’s election strategy going into the 2019 elections. 

Environment and Tourism Minister, Aaditya Thackeray has now said that the previous BJP government only started projects with the 2019 elections in mind, adding that they knew the September 2019 deadline for Metro 3 could not be met.  

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“The stay on cutting of trees at Aarey was lifted only in October 2019. You don’t expect one year’s work to be done in a month’s time,” Thackeray said. He also mentioned that the Aarey car shed land will be handed over to the forest department while also ensuring the normal flow of Mithi river.

A 2015 report warned of flooding in the region if a car shed was built in its vicinity. Aaditya Thackeray said that the environment department is currently studying methods to restore the normal flow of the river. 

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“Here is 102 acres of land free of encumbrances, free of cost, owned by the state government and right next to the Eastern Express Highway that the then government would not talk about. Can you imagine Metro Line 6 was being constructed without land being allotted for a car shed though MMRDA had been asking for the Kanjurmarg plot since 2018. Probably the then government did not want to give it for Line 6 because they would have had to shift the Line 3 car shed there,” the environment minister added.

Aaditya Thackeray also said that CM Uddhav Thackeray’s decision on the Kanjurmarg car shed has consequently helped establish metro connectivity for the metropolitan region. “Metro Line 3 was from Colaba-SEEPZ. Citizens from eastern suburbs would still have to travel on the highways to reach South Mumbai. By taking the car shed to Kanjurmarg, we have ensured seamless connectivity to South Mumbai. We are planning the car depot for Metro Line 4 here and the terminal station for Line 14 (Badlapur-Kanjurmarg)”

Thackeray also talked about the setting up of reserved forests across the city. “We have created 808 acres of reserved forest in a city like Mumbai which has not been done in any city anywhere in the world. Aarey’s biodiversity is rich and it has its own endemic species, be it spiders, rusty cats....I had recently visited the car shed plot in Aarey Colony and it is a forest,” Thackeray said.

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