INDIA. Mumbai: “The Metro Rail will carry one crore commuters by 2031 and when the network is fully functional, it will help reduce nearly 23000 tons of carbon monoxide daily,” the MMRDA Commissioner SVR Srinivas said during the inauguration of phase I of the Metro-2A and Metro-7 corridors by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on the auspicious occasion of Gudi Padwa on Saturday.
“There will be 14 corridors in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) comprising Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, and adjoining areas, covering a nearly 337 km long stretch,” Srinivas said. He also stated that the work on the second phase of the above lines will be completed over the next 5 to 6 months, significantly reducing road traffic congestion.
Thackeray signalled the start of the first phase of two lines: Metro-2A (Dahisar to Dahanukar Wadi) and Metro-7 (Dahisar to Dahanukar Wadi) (Dahisar to Aarey, Goregaon East). After the inauguration, he and other ministers traveled by metro rail in train No. (00905), piloted by Trupti Shetye and Prathmesh Sawant.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) will deploy ten metro trains daily in service on this 20-km long route. The tickets have been priced at Rs 10( minimum) and Rs.40 (maximum).
While initially, the trains will run with pilots, the latest technology has been used in form of a CBTC system, signaling, and driverless operations. The train services will be run from 6 am to 10 pm daily.
When fully functional, Metro 2A will run between Dahisar to Dahanukar Wadi covering Dahisar, Anand Nagar, Kandarpada, Mandapeshwar-IC Colony, Eksar, Borivali (West), Pahadi Eksar, Kandivali (West) and Dahanukar Wadi. Similarly, the Metro-7 will run between Dahisar and Aarey covering Aarey, Dindoshi, Kurar, Akurli, Poisar, Magathane, Devipada, Rashtriya Udyan, and Ovari Pada stations.
In his speech, Thackeray slammed the opposition BJP for taking credit for the Metro rail project, alleging that the MVA administration was dedicated to finishing it quickly while keeping ecological balance.
In a subtle dig at previous Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Thackeray said that during his tenure, hundreds of trees in the Aarey forest were felled overnight to make way for a Metro vehicle shed, in violation of environmental regulations.
Continuing his attack on the BJP, Thackeray said that of late a new virus is spreading. “If we do good work, some people claim the credit for it. Besides, they go on levelling false charges of corruption against us. A plot of land reserved for the financial centre at BKC in Bandra was taken over by the BJP-led Union Government for a bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Why a bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad? Why it can’t be run between Mumbai and Nagpur, which will be more helpful to Maharashtra ?.
“The existing metro rail network can be extended beyond Badlapur if the railway land at Kanjur Marg (North East Mumbai) is made available by the Central Government. We also want the railway land for the redevelopment of Dharavi, Asia’s biggest slum in South Central Mumbai, but the Central Govt is yet to allow it”, Thackeray said.
Thackeray said that the MVA government is committed to the progress of all. That is the reason the proposed Hindu Hrudaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg (expressway), seeks to provide an impetus to the overall development of rural areas, is being extended from Mumbai to Gadchiroli (a tribal district) instead of restricting it to Nagpur.
He congratulated MMRDA officials for overcoming obstacles to creating the additional Metro infrastructure and heaped praise on MMRDA Commissioner SVR Srinivas and former Commissioner R A Rajeev for their dedicated involvement in implementing infrastructural projects. He also suggested that their photographs be displayed permanently in the photo gallery of MMRDA.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar also lambasted the BJP saying that the public projects are not anyone’s property. “The governments change, new PMs, and CMs take charge. The situation changes but the work going on.”
The MVA government is involved in sincere work to ensure all-round development in the state. The first metro corridor between Versova (Andheri) and Ghatkopar (North East Mumbai) was inaugurated on June 08, 2014, by the then Congress CM Prithviraj Chavan. In the last 7 years, many changes took place. Thackeray moved to CM’s official residence “Varsha” in South Mumbai from his residence at “Matoshri” (Bandra).
“In the last three years, the MVA Government spent crores of rupees to improve the infrastructure. Many projects were completed and quite a few are in the pipeline, including a flyover at Ulhas river (in Thane district) and a flyover near Panvel (Raigad). Besides infrastructure, the government is paying equal attention to improvement in the field of education, health, and culture,” Pawar added.
He appealed to Mumbaikars to maintain the beauty of the new technology and infrastructure and exhorted them to keep the city clean. “Do not spit in public places and make the surroundings dirty. Our people go abroad and obey the rules since they have no option.”
“But when they return, they take everything for granted. This state has a legacy of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. As such maintain its dignity. Every effort will be made to retain the Marathi ethos of Mumbai”, he added.
The Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde said that the new metro corridors will provide great relief to Mumbaikars. He criticized the BJP leaders for abstaining from the program despite extending invitations.
He recalled that over 55 flyovers were constructed in the state when Nitin Gadkari (BJP) was the PWD Minister in the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance government (1995-1999) in Maharashtra. But most of the flyovers were subsequently inaugurated by the then Congress chief minister late Vilasrao Deshmukh. The transformation takes place and one should accept it.
Environment and Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray complimented MMRDA officials for completing the Metro corridors in time despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
He informed the audience that 55 percent of work on the Mumbai coastal road is complete and it will be operational by December 2023. Similarly, 64 percent of work on the Shivdi-Nhava Sheva (Mumbai Trans Harbour Link) is complete and the link will be operational by September this year.
On the occasion, MMRDA Officials and others were felicitated by the CM. They included: Additional MMRDA Commissioner Dr. K H Govindraj, MMRDA Directors- Pramod Ahuja, Rajiv Agrawal, O H Pande, Amit Banerjee, and J Kumar Infraprojects Ltd. Managing Director Nalin Gupta.
Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar, Shiv Sena MP Gajanan Kirtikar, Ministers- Subhash Desai, Aslam Shaikh, MLA Sunil Prabhu, Chief Secretary Manukumar Srivastav, and a host of the Shiv Sena leaders were present. MMRDA Additional Commissioner Dr. Sonia Sethi anchored the program.
Earlier in the day Thackeray also laid a foundation of the GST Bhavan at Wadala (South Central Mumbai) and also performed a Bhoomi poojan of Marathi Bhasha Bhavan being constructed at a cost of Rs 1,850 crore at Marine Drive (South Mumbai). He also inaugurated the ‘Dial 112′ helpline project, to deal with cyber crimes against women and children. Its mechanism comprises the centres in Navi Mumbai and Nagpur, where calls will be received and then re-directed to district police control rooms.