The financial capital of India, that is, Mumbai, despite contributing huge amount of taxes and housing country’s most important financial institutions, never got its fair share in budgeted expenditure. All thanks to Congress-NCP governments who rule the state till 2014. However, since the BJP government came to power at the centre and in the state in 2014, public investment in infrastructure witnessed a boost and projects were fast-tracked. Despite the effort of Fadnavis Government to resurrect the Mumbai metro project, Mumbai could never really had fully furnished metro lines. Any guesses why?
Well, that is because few months after project was being revived, Uddhav Thackeray stepped in as the new Chief Minister of Maharashtra. Following the footsteps of Congress, he too denied Mumbaikars of metro.
Mumbai metro – a long awaited project
Back till 1980s, transportation was not a big problem in Mumbai. It came into existence after a discontinuation of trams was witnessed, which led to the direct increase of passenger pressure on the suburban railway network.
The population of Mumbai doubled till 2010. Moreover, the Mumbai Suburban Railway is not built keeping in mind the rapid transit specifications. Thus appeared the need of Mumbai Metro – to provide mass rapid transit services to people within an approach distance of between 1 and 2 kilometres, and to serve the areas not connected by the existing Suburban Rail network.
The master plan proposed by the MMRDA in 2004 required a total of 146.5 kilometres (91.0 mi) of track, of which 32 kilometres (20 mi) needed to be underground. The estimated cost of the proposed project was Rs 19,525 crore.
The Congress-NCP government had started the project back in 2004 and planned to build 146 km metro network in the city by 2021. However, after the inefficient execution of Line 1 of Mumbai Metro, which suffered inordinate delays, the whole project was put on hold.
How Uddhav Government is responsible for this?
Reportedly, the project got delayed for an indefinite period of time as the Uddhav government was unable to find an alternate site for the car shed needed to park and maintain coaches. For those unversed, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government had decided to shift the car depot from Aarey over ‘environmental concerns’.
As per the initial deadline, phase I from Aarey to BKC was expected to end by December 2021, and phase II from BKC to Cuffe Parad was supposed to be completed by June 2022. However, it is far from completion. All thanks to Uddhav government.
Despite all approvals by the concerned authorities and yes nod by the courts, the Shiv Sena had fuelled the protests against the Aarey Metro car shed project. Many Bollywood celebrities and ‘Andolanjeevis’ had joined the misinformed campaign.
It is nothing but the unwillingness of Maharashtra’s former CM Uddhav Thackeray that Mumbaikars are still striving for metro.
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