Mumbai: The Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra has “fallen flat on its face” with the Bombay High Court staying the allotment of salt pan land in Kanjurmarg area of Mumbai for the construction of an integrated Metro car shed, the BJP said on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters, BJP leader Atul Bhatkhalkar said the metro car shed project had been transferred to Kanjurmarg from Aarey Colony, a prominent green lung of the city, by the Shiv Sena-led government with the only motive to “settle a political score with the BJP”.
Another BJP leader and former MP Kirit Somaiya demanded resignation of state environment minister Aaditya Thackeray, son of CM Uddhav Thackeray, for his “insistence to shift the project to Kanjurmarg”.
The High Court has stayed an order passed by Mumbai suburban district collector allotting 102 acres of salt pan land in Mumbai’s Kanjurmarg area for the construction of an integrated Metro car shed.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni also restrained the authorities from carrying out any construction work at the said land.
“The Bombay High Court’s order has come as no surprise to us. The site is under ownership dispute, but the Thackeray government refused to pay heed to the facts and pushed the Metro-3 carshed project ahead (in Kanjurmarg) only to settle a political with the BJP. They have fallen flat on their face,” the BJP leader said.
The Centre and the Shiv Sena-led MVA government are locked in a tussle over ownership of the land earmarked by the state for constructing the car depot which was earlier planned at Aarey Colony, a green belt in suburban Goregaon.
The Union government had filed a petition in the high court challenging the October 1, 2020 order passed by the collector allotting the land for construction of the car shed, and said the land belongs to its (Centre’s) salt department.
Bhatkhalkar said the then BJP government in the state had decided to begin construction of the metro car shed in Aarey Colony after a proper due diligence.
“Similar discussions and orders were issued in 2015, when the BJP was leading the Maharashtra government. Our government had properly studied the project hence it decided to construct the car shed on the Aarey land,” he added.
Demanding resignation of Aaditya Thackeray, Somaiya said, “His insistence is going to cost the state dearly. It is the fault of Aaditya Thackeray who unnecessarily insisted on shifting the car shed to Kanjurmarg”.
Meanwhile, in an editorial in the party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, the Sena said the metro car shed project on the Kanjurmarg site will move ahead “leaving behind the bullet train”.
Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train is an ambitious project of the Narendra Modi government.
Without naming the BJP, the Sena said the opposition party did not leave a single opportunity to stall the development of Mumbai.
It said the time has come “to think seriously” about those who are trying to put roadblocks in the project work.
On Tuesday, BJP leaders targeted the MVA government over shifting of the metro car shed project, contending it will escalate the project cost.
“Skies will not fall on the Central government if the car shed takes shape in Kanjurmarg,” the Sena said.
The edit said the Thackeray government actually “saved” the Aarey forest by shifting the project to Kanjurmarg and should have been praised for the same.
“Steps were taken to stop the Kanjurmarg car shed from coming into existence. Let one make any effort. The car shed will move ahead leaving behind the bullet train. The car shed will not be able to stop the political salt satyagrah,” the Sena said, adding that the Kanjurmarg land is the property of the “people of Maharashtra”.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party accused the Centre of trying to put a spanner in the works carried out in Maharashtra, but not in BJP-ruled states. It said the previous Devendra Fadnavis government had legally claimed that the Kanjurmarg land belonged to the state government only.
“The Salt Commissioner of Delhi did not wake up from sleep then. But after a decision was taken (by the MVA government) to shift the Aarey metro car shed to Kanjurmarg, the Commissioner was made to wake up,” the Sena alleged.
The party also said there was no need to produce salt from the Kanjurmarg salt pan land as the state has a long coastline stretching from Mumbai to Konkan.
“The state government will supply salt to the Centre if there is any shortage,” the Sena said.