The trial run of Mumbai’s first underground Metro line-3, also known as the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ line, which has been under construction since 2016, was flagged off by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday.
The trial runs of the 33.5km-long underground Metro corridor will be held inside a 3-km tunnel stretch between the temporary facility of Sariput Nagar and Marol Naka station.
While speaking at the function, CM Shinde said that the government has attempted to complete the much-delayed project by doing away with all the obstacles and also announced that the first phase of Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi Mahamarg or the Mumbai–Nagpur Expressway between Shirdi and Nagpur will be inaugurated soon.
Dy CM Fadnavis termed the commencement of trial runs of the Metro 3 as a historic moment and called the Mumbai Metro line 3 as the new lifeline of Mumbai. The first phase of the Metro corridor could have begun in March this year itself, he said. However, due to the earlier government (the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government), the project was delayed and now it will open for public use only after December 23, and the second phase after six months, he added.
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“The earlier government delayed the project. But I am thankful to CM Shinde. Had he not taken the decision (to keep the car shed at Aarey), thousands of crores of investment could have been wasted and the cost would have escalated further, putting burden on the common public,” Fadnavis said.
Without naming the Shiv Sena or Uddhav Thackeray, Fadnavis also hit out at the party and said that the opposition to the Metro car shed was more for political reasons, than environmental. He also said that the opposition was voiced even after the Supreme Court had cleared the project and given the go-ahead after hearing the matter.
Stating that the Kanjurmarg land was not feasible for the car shed as it was a marshy land, Fadnavis said that it would have taken two more years to build the car shed there and as per the report by the additional chief secretary Manoj Saunik committee, the project cost was going up by Rs 15,000-20,000 crore and four additional years were required. He also clarified that for the current government, the decision of having a car shed at Aarey was not an ego issue and it was taken for the benefit of Mumbaikars.
The move to shift the car shed out of Aarey has been a major bone of contention between the Shiv Sena and the BJP.
The Metro-3 car shed was initially proposed at Aarey Colony during the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP-Shiv Sena government. While it saw opposition from environmental activists, after the formation of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in November 2019, the plan of a car shed at Aarey was scrapped by then chief minister Thackeray, who announced it would be shifted to Kanjurmarg.
On June 30, the Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis duo, in their first cabinet meeting held after assuming power, overturned the previous government’s decision of moving the car shed from Aarey. Fadnavis directed the urban development department officials to bring a proposal for building the car shed at Aarey.