Residents and political parties protest against the Metro III project want CM to come up with a rehabilitation plan before going ahead with the project.
The Shiv Sena, MNS and Congress backed the bandh in Girgaum and Kalbadevi for protesting against the relocation of families due to Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ metro rail project. These families have been residing there from several decades and they are attached towards the locality.If residents shift their houses then it will definitely have an impact on their livelihood and children’s education and future prospects. Residents, shopkeepers, street vendors and stall owners from Chira Bazar, Girgaum, Grant Road Rahuvasi Bachao Kruti Samiti protested by observing bandh.
Locals have been demanding rehabilitation in the same area of their current residence as well as bigger homes. The Fadnavis government has announced rehabilitation of the project affected families in the same area as well as providing houses double the size of current ones. Till date several rounds of talks and discussions has happened between Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation officials, affected families and Shiv Sena representatives. Local residents are opposing the project as more than 600 families and over 200 commercial establishments will be affected. As per the project plans, 26 buildings need to be demolished to make way for the proposed Girgaum and Kalbadevi stations.
Pandurang Sakpal, Shiv Sena South Mumbai Vibhag Pramukh said, “Shiv Sena never opposed the Metro lll project. We are in favour of the development of the city.However the tenants residing in Chira Bazar, Girgaum and Grant Road should be rehabilitated here itself. The CM should give a written confirmation (GR) that the residents will be rehabilitated in the same vicinity. If they are relocated in convenient places we have no objection towards themetro project.”
One of the local residents Amit Bhadricha told AV there was immense support for the bandh from the residents of Chira Bazar, Kalbadevi and Girgaum for protesting against the Metro 3 project. Many chawls and buildings are likely to be demolished thereby displacing several residents of the area. Shiv Sena is in favour of diversion of the route to such an area where no buildings exist so that residents including Marathi people don’t have to relocate elsewhere.The second option is to simply omit ‘Kalbadevi’ and ‘Girgaum’ stations as there is no need of a Metro in these areas. Other political parties have also come forward in support of the bandh.”
Another resident Santosh Shinde spoke to AV and said,“The people and the shopkeepers themselves came forward and supported the “Bandh” because their shops will be demolished due to the Metro III project which will affect their livelihood. We want the government to first come up with a rehabilitation plan for the project affected peoplebefore giving a nod to such project. It will be difficult for residents to relocate at the eleventh hour as their children are studying here. Many of them have shops and are employed in Chira Bazar. Some of them are living here from three to four generations.”
Nilesh Ahirekar said, “It was a successful and peaceful agitation supported by all. We the people residing here believe that the government must address the concern of residents first before the project starts. The MNS and Congress have also backed our bandh.”
MNS’s south Mumbai wing Chief Arvind Gawde accused the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRCL) of offering Girgaum to the lobby of Gujarati and Rajasthani builders. MNS wants such projects to be given to Marathi Manoos or son of soil.