They may have a plan to resolve their differences but it looks like it is going to be a while before the results show.
The first meeting between the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to sort out contentious issues was not too productive.
While the civic body was reluctant to give the MMRDA six hectares of land at Mahalaxmi for setting up a control centre for the Metro, the latter has asked the BMC to pay Rs 3 lakh for each tenement given to project affected people.
According to the MMRDA’s plan, the 225-acre Mahalaxmi race course could be transformed into a control centre for the Metro and Monorail networks. “The BMC is not keen on handing over the land to us for constructing the Metro Bhavan,” said Metropolitan Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad. “Mahalaxmi was the best bet because Metro, Monorail and the suburban rail converge here.”
Municipal Commissioner Swadheen Kshatriya said the MMRDA’s project has been put on hold. The BMC’s reluctance to part with the land has prompted the MMRDA to look for options.
This is not the first time that the MMRDA has staked its claim on the race course. Last month, it had written to the BMC asking for permission to build a car depot for the Metro project on 17 acres of the race course. The plan was to build the depot using the cut-and-cover construction technique where a trench is excavated to create a tunnel and a roof built over it.
The BMC also has a grouse against the MMRDA. The latter has handed over 3,500 tenements to the civic body to rehabilitate slum dwellers displaced by various projects. The BMC needs at least 8,000 more tenements for relocating PAPs under the Brihanmumbai Storm Water Drain project.
The BMC has taken up several other development projects such as replacing 100-year-old water mains, widening of roads and pavements for which BMC needs to rehabilitate slum-dwellers. The MMRDA’s demand is likely to delay these projects further because the BMC does not the money to pay for the tenements. “The amount would go beyond Rs 300 crore. It is not practical to pay this much,” a senior BMC officer said.
Kshatriya said the BMC will have to study the MMRDA’s proposal. He did not comment further.