Congress, BJP in verbal duel over Kanjurmarg land for Metro car shed

Congress and BJP on Friday were engaged in a verbal duel over the development of Metro 3 and 6 car shed at Kanjurmarg. Congress spokesman Sachin Sawant alleged that there was a deliberate attempt by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to derail the project and thereby put the Mumbaikars into inconvenience. He released documents pertaining to Kanjurmarg site saying that the previous Devendra Fadnavis government had finalised the salt pan land to build a car shed for Metro 6 where it will also now be used for Metro 3.

However, BJP MLA Ashish Shelar countered Sawant’s claim and said that the main issue was not whether the land belongs to the Centre or state government but it was with regard to a claim made by an individual. He also threw a challenge at the state Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray to have an open discussion on the issue. "Has the foundation-laying of the Rs 50,000-crore scam started on the salt pan land?" asked Shelar.

"There is a deliberate attempt by the BJP to derail this project in order to cause inconvenience to the people of Mumbai. These documents show that the Bharatiya Janata Party has cheated the people of Maharashtra by claiming that the Metro car shed project is going to cost over Rs 5,000 crore extra if the project is moved to Kanjurmarg. The reality is, the BJP government had itself cleared this patch of land for the car shed of Metro 6,’’ said Sawant.

He claimed that the salt pan land was cleared by none other than Chandrakant Patil, who was then a cabinet minister in the BJP government and who is the current BJP state president.

Sawant showed a letter of IAS officer Ashwini Bhide who headed the Metro project, and claimed that government had found the land was suitable for a car shed. The letter written on September 22, 2015 by Ashwini Bhide stated, "After reviewing all the lands for Metro car shed 3, we have found that the Kanjurmarg land is extremely useful. It will be impossible to implement the project without this land."

On his part, Shelar said that the state government was aware that there was an ongoing litigation on the land allocated for the car shed. According to him, the legality of the decision to allocate this land to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for developing the car shed was under question.

Shelar alleged that the Mumbai Metro project was getting delayed because of the car shed row triggered by the CM. ‘’You are completely responsible for the delay in the Metro project owing to the decision taken in arrogance. I want to tell you that a Congress government in 1983 adopted the stance that the land allocated for the car shed in Kanjurmarg belongs to the Centre. From 2014 to 2018, BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis and Chandrakant Patil made efforts to establish that this land belongs to the Maharashtra government," he noted.

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