Mumbai: After Aaditya, City Congress Chief Varsha Gaikwad Slams Govt Over 'Delayed' MTHL Opening

Mumbai: After Aaditya, City Congress Chief Varsha Gaikwad Slams Govt Over 'Delayed' MTHL Opening

Says that bridge was ready much before but inauguration was postponed in anticipation of VIP's availability; demands to reduce ₹250 toll amount

Draupadi RoheraUpdated: Wednesday, January 10, 2024, 08:21 PM IST
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Mumbai: After Aaditya, City Congress Chief Varsha Gaikwad Slams Govt Over 'Delayed' MTHL Opening | MMRDA

Political daggers are once again out on the issue of 'delayed' opening of the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL), which is scheduled to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 12.

After Shiv Sena (UBT) MLA and former tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray attacked the Eknath Shinde-led dispensation on the issue, Mumbai Congress President Professor Varsha Gaikwad on Wednesday hit out at the government in the same regard.

Varsha questions the inaugural timing of the project

Questioning the inaugural timing of one of India's longest sea bridges, the Dharavi MLA said that the MTHL was almost complete and nearly ready for public opening during the tenure of erstwhile Maha Vikas Aghadi government. Owing to the non-availability of a VIP (veiled reference to the PM), the Shinde-led government delayed the opening of the MTHL and caused inconvenience to the citizens.

“The bridge has been ready for more than three months, but it was not thrown open for public use. People have complete rights over the bridge. If it was ready, it should be opened for traffic at the earliest,” she said. Criticising the government for fixing Rs250 as toll for one-way car trip, Gaikwad underscored that the government was initially toying with the idea of charging Rs 500 per private car, but reduced the amount “keeping an eye on elections”. The Congress demands that passage of all public transport, including buses, should be toll-free, she said.

Gaikwad seeks lane dedicated for buses

Gaikwad further sought a lane dedicated for buses on the MTHL. “The bridge was intended to aid the common man; that was the whole idea. Former Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh had floated the idea of the project, former CM Prithviraj Chauhan accepted the proposal of MTHL and Maha Vikas Aghadi had allotted liberal funds for the same,” she said. Public transport should also be allowed on the bridge via a dedicated lane without any toll for buses, including that of BEST, NMMT, ST and other transport buses.

The move will save a considerable amount of time and also ease traffic issues, the Congress added. Urging to slash the Rs250 toll amount, she reasoned, “Any person passing through the bridge is bound to return, which means the individual would have to spend Rs500 in a day. Commuters cannot afford such a steep toll fee on a daily basis.”

Earlier, Aaditya had slammed the government, saying that the MTHL opening was being delayed for date confirmation from VIPs at the cost of the public interest. Even as the war of words and credit snatching gains momentum, the citizens await with bated breath for the MTHL to become fully operational!

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