Amid the ongoing controversy over the metro car shed for Mumbai Metro 3 project, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday stripped Ashwini Bhide from the post of Managing Director of Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC), which is implementing the project.
Bhide will be replaced by Ranjit Singh Deol who is currently serving as the vice-chairman and MD of Maharashtra state road transport corporation. The reshuffle comes just a week after the Maharashtra government transferred 22 IAS officers. Last week, Bhide was elevated to the post of principal secretary. However, during the reshuffle, she has not been given any other charge.
Who is Ashwini Bhide and what was her role in Mumbai Metro projects?
An IAS officer of 1988 batch, Bhide brought Mumbai Metro 3 project back on track after she was appointed as MMRC's chairman. But soon after her appointment, she had to face challenges of executing the project and also had to work hard to build a political consensus and prove the project will not destroy the city’s green lungs.
Under Bhide, MMRC had managed to complete the excavation work on 13 out of 26 underground stations. All through 2019, the 33.5-km-long and only underground metro rail project of the city, running on Colaba-Bandra-Seepz route, faced roadblocks. NGOs, environmentalists and common people had come out in large numbers, forming human chains and blamed Bhide for not paying heed to public outcry.
She also locked horns with the Shiv Sena before the elections, especially with the present Tourism Minister, Aaditya Thackeray, who had opposed the cutting of trees for the Metro 3 car shed in Aarey. But, Bhide defended the metro project at Aarey by stating that it was impossible to shift the car shed anywhere else. Though Bhide faced hardships while working on the Metro 3 project, her commitment to the ongoing metro project won her countless fans.