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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

Sena-BJP row over Aarey: Mumbai mayor sends letter to Metro firm

Sena wants the disputed 33 hectares to be marked as a green zone; the BJP has earmarked it for a Metro-3 car shed

mumbai Updated: Nov 14, 2017 14:43 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
The bone of contention is 33 hectares of forested area in Aarey Colony, Goregaon.
The bone of contention is 33 hectares of forested area in Aarey Colony, Goregaon.(HT File)

The fight between allies Shiv Sena, which leads the civic body, and the BJP, which leads the state government, over the Metro 3 project is getting more bitter by the day.

In a letter to Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (MMRCL) on Monday, Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar has reiterated that the proposal to grant 33 hectares in Aarey Colony, Goregaon, to build a Metro car shed has been rejected by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in its improvement and general body meetings held this year.

Mahadeshwar’s letter comes close on the heels of the state government notification, dated November 9, that modified the BMC proposal and earmarked the 33 hectares for a Metro car shed instead of a green zone.

The Sena argues that this move disrespects the decision of the city’s elected corporators. In his letter, Mahadeshwar, who visited Aarey last week along with senior Sena leaders, said: “I would like to bring to your attention that Aarey is a green zone and important for the well-being of Mumbaikars. If a car depot is built in Aarey, citizens will be bereft of the benefits of this greenery permanently.”

An MMRCL spokesperson said: “Decisions regarding zoning or change of zone are taken by the state government under appropriate provisions of the MRTP [Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning] Act. As regards the land allotted to MMRCL for a car depot, the government has taken appropriate decision regarding its zoning by following due procedure under the MRTP Act.”

Significantly, the municipal commissioner has powers to over-rule the decision of the elected body.

On Monday, Mahadeshwar also met members of the Aarey Conservation Group at the BMC headquarters. The Sena has strongly opposed the cutting of trees in Aarey for the Metro-3 car shed on several occasions. Zoru Bhatena, an activist who attended the meeting, said: “The mayor has told us clearly that the BMC and the Sena will do whatever they can to save Aarey.”

Earlier, Mahadeshwar had said that the BMC would not pass the proposal for cutting trees in Aarey, which will come up at the tree authority meeting soon.

First Published: Nov 14, 2017 14:43 IST

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