Will new Maha regime bring Metro-3 work to a halt?
With the Shiv Sena-Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) regime set to run the Maharashtra government from Thursday, doubts are being raised over the fate of several infrastructure projects in the city and state.
Topping the list of projects that may now be delayed are the Mumbai Metro-3 (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz), 701-km Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway and Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train.
The Shiv Sena has opposed the cutting of more than 2,000 trees and construction of a car-shed in Aarey for Metro-3, on multiple occasions. Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray had also condemned the cutting of trees in Aarey in October. The Sena, NCP and Congress also opposed the Mumbai-Nagpur expressway and bullet train in the past, both the BJP’s pet projects.
Manisha Kayande, Shiv Sena spokesperson, on Wednesday told reporters that no more trees will be cut in Aarey. About the bullet train project, she said, “We had opposed it earlier too. If so many people are going to be affected by the project, what is the need for it?”
Anil Parab, senior Sena leader, said, “There will definitely be a review of all projects. We will look at the opinion of each party and take a call.” Sachin Sawant, spokesperson of the Congress, said there will be an audit of “feasibility” of the projects.
The earlier government planned 13 Metro corridors with an investment of ₹1 lakh crore in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. Realigning the Metro-3 will result in delays for the ₹23,000-crore project, expected to be partly operational from 2021.
Citizens, too, have expressed their concerns. AV Shenoy, a transport expert and founder of the Mumbai Mobility Forum, said, “As the Sena is opposed to the car shed, they might look at realigning it, which might cause delays. Metro corridors that are expected to be operational soon may not be hit, but the new government might review the other corridors, especially from the financial point of view.”
Chandrashekhar Dhage, an architect who keenly follows infrastructure developments in the state, said, “Mumbai Metro projects could be affected largely as the Congress and NCP have more rural voters. Many projects might also see re-tendering or be scrapped altogether.”
Atul Shah, BJP spokesperson, said, “The enthusiasm and pace at which the Devendra Fadnavis government undertook the infrastructure projects in Mumbai will not be seen under the new government. We hope they speed it up. We will wait-and-watch.”