The state government has superseded the BMC’s decision to not allot 17 plots to the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) for the Metro 3 project.
The civic body recorded the proposal, in effect, and sent it back to the administration earlier in March. The proposal was rejected by the Shiv Sena with surprising support from Congress, the opposition, in the general body meeting of elected representatives of the BMC.
However, the government has exercised special powers under section 52 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act. A senior official from MMRC said, “The state government has exercised its powers and issued a letter to the BMC to handover the plots for temporary usage for the construction of the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro.”
BMC, however, is yet to handover the plots, the official said.
A senior civic official said, “We have not received any official orders yet. However, we have learnt about the government’s move.”
The entire episode was an outcome of the tussle between the Shiv Sena and the BJP — the two parties that have been ruling the Mumbai civic body for almost two decades. For over a year now, they are locked in a bitter tussle over the upcoming polls.
Shiv-Sena had joined hands with the Congress in rejecting the proposal to handover the plots earlier passed by the BJP-controlled improvements committee and later in the civic general body. While BJP had condemned the Sena’s move as against development, the Sena had maintained its opposition to the Metro 3 project, fearing displacement of Marathi-speaking people, especially in the areas of Girgaum.
In January, the improvements committee had passed the proposal to hand over 7,796 square meters (0.78 hectares) of land parcels to the MMRC for the construction of the fully underground Metro Line 3. The plots include the garden at Captain Prakash Pethe Marg in Cuffe Parade, the garden opposite Siddhivinayak Mandir in Prabhadevi, a traffic island at Dadar’s Gokhale road and the garden behind Hutatma Chowk among others.
The government has set October, 2016, as the target to start the construction of the Metro corridor and is aiming to take possession of land for the entire right of way before actually starting construction, so as to not repeat its previous mistakes. The city’s first Metro, Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro, was much delayed due to the long time taken in securing all land parcels required even after construction had started, inconveniencing motorists and residents along the alignment.