Shifting the proposed Metro rail car shed from Aarey Milk Colony may mean a costlier ride for you in the future, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis indicated on Friday.
Speaking at the Legislative Assembly during a discussion on the budgetary grants of the urban development department, Fadnavis said that any shifting of the car shed from its proposed location of Aarey Milk colony will cost the State government a steep Rs 1500 crore.
“This additional money isn’t my money or your money but it’s the taxpayers’ money. This additional cost will have to be passed to the final consumer in the ticket he purchases for the Metro ride. No contractor will bear this cost, it will only make the ticket costlier,” Fadnavis said.
While various government officials have indicated that shifting the location would entail a cost escalation, this is the first time that the government has said that the escalation will result in a steeper fare.
The proposed car shed has been facing severe flak from environmentalists and citizens who believe that the construction of the car shed will threaten the ecology of the Aarey Milk colony, one of the last large green lungs of the city. The Shiv Sena has also been fiercely opposing the car shed.
Fadnavis, while adding that the government was yet to take a final call dropped enough hints that his government was in favour of the proposed shed at the environmentally fragile Aarey milk colony. “According to the original plan, 2,300 trees were to be cut. But, we revised the plan and now only 350-500 trees will have to be cut. Citizens need to decide whether they are willing to spend Rs1,500 crore for saving these trees as against saving money and planting over 3,000 trees and transplanting those which were cut,” he said.
Fadnavis also added that metro shed at Aarey would make greater environmental sense in the longer run. “World over, the best way to reduce carbon footprint is building public transit systems like the Metro. If you see the net-to-net calculation of our carbon footprint in building the shed at Aarey, we are gaining immensely.” According to Fadnavis, the shorter distances between two stations in a Metro rail system as well as a quicker turnaround time will mean that the Metro will led to a large decrease in vehicular traffic. “The average Mumbaikar will have to decide which direction he wants the city to head,” he said.
Responding to a barb by NCP leader Jayant Patil about ally Shiv Sena’s opposition to the car shed, Fadnavis said, “We will convince them too, you don’t have to worry.”