The 777 families from the 28 chawls in Girgaum and Kalbadevi will be rehabilitated in the same area after the acquisition of their buildings for the Metro-3 project, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis told the lower house on Thursday. The CM also said his government was committed to abolishing toll tax in the state, but the agreements made by the previous government were acting as hindrance in some cases.
The tenants of the chawls, which have been served acquisition notices, have been objecting to the Colaba-Andheri-Seepz Metro-3 over the rehabilitation issue. Environment activists have also been objecting to the proposed 12-hectare car shed for the project in the Aarey Colony, as it will destroy one of the few green spaces of the city.
Fadnavis said the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority has worked out a plan for the rehabilitation of the families in the additional space expected to be available in the vicinity. He said the government was concerned about the interest of the Marathi families living in the chawls and they will be housed in buildings that are better than their current houses. Fadnavis said a committee of experts was looking into the possibility of shifting the carshed elsewhere.
Terming the Metro project the need of the hour, Fadnavis urged city residents to support it. “The city has exhausted its capacity of handling private vehicles. To ensure a transit-oriented development, the basket approach with multiple options such as Metro and monorail is a must,” he said, in reply to the debate on the governor’s speech.
Blaming the previous government over the toll issue, Fadnavis said some of the contracts were in the interest of the contractors. “We are considering the option of buying back the contracts, but in a few main contracts such as the ones for the entry points to the city, there is no such provision. This has left us in a tricky position legally, but we are committed to freeing the state from toll. If need be, we will fight a legal battle against contractors.”
“The responsibility of the flawed agreements with the toll contractors needs to be fixed. Had the agreements been flawless, we could have exempted at least light motor vehicles from toll with immediate effect,” said Fadnavis.
Claiming to have obtained the green nod for the Shivaji statue quicker than the earlier government, Fadnavis said his government will release a time-bound programme for the construction.