Maha govt may approach SC on HC's Metro car shed order: Dy CM

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(Eds: More quotes and reactions) Mumbai, Dec 16 (PTI) Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Wednesday indicated that the state government may approach the Supreme Court against the Bombay High Court's order staying Mumbai suburban district collector's allotment of 102-acre Kanjurmarg salt pan land for Metro car shed.

Talking to reporters here, Pawar, without naming the BJP, said the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government's decision to shift the car depot project from Aarey Colony to Kanjurmarg seemed to have 'hurt a lot of people' and that is why the Centre took an 'extreme step'.

'In the Constitution and law, there is a provision of making an appeal against any court decision. Hence, it will be thought about,' the senior NCP leader said.

Earlier in the day, the Bombay HC stayed the order passed by Mumbai suburban district collector allotting 102 acres of salt pan land in Kanjurmarg area here 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 Centre and the Shiv Sena-led MVA government in Maharashtra 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 previous BJP-led government in Maharashtra had decided to construct the car shed for the Mumbai Metro line-3 at Aarey Colony, despite opposition from environmentalists and activists to the vast tree-cutting for the project.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who heads the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, had announced shifting of the metro car shed from Aarey to Kanjurmarg.

The Union government had claimed the entire salt pan land in the area, including the 102 acres allotted to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), belongs to the Centre's salt department.

The Centre 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.

'Be it the Centre or the state government, nobody should put roadblocks in the development works. I have seen (NCP chief Sharad) Pawar's 50 to 55 years of political career.

I have been in politics for the past 30 years. I never bring politics in developmental works, rather we help,' Pawar added.

Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil, who heads Maharashtra unit of the NCP, said though the court has granted the stay on allotment of land, the final hearing will be held in February.

'It is the expectation of the court that there should be no change until the final decision is given. Hence, I think that the people who are against the Aarey forest have no reason to be elated,' Patil said, without naming the BJP.

Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray said he was waiting for the detailed order of the high court.

He also said the land is crucial for the Metro project as it will save almost Rs 5,500 crore of the government money.

'Honble HC has granted a stay to Kanjurmarg work. We await the detailed written order to decide the future course of action.

'This land is crucial for Metro Line 6, 4 and 14, apart from 3, as it will save almost Rs 5500 crores of Govt and be a nodal point for 1 crore citizens,' Thackeray tweeted.

Former Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam said the common people of Mumbai were against the construction of the metro car shed in Aarey, and added there is no better alternative than Kanjurmarg site.

'The High Court has disrespected the people's sentiments by staying the proposed metro car shed. Preparing and implementing schemes is the government's job, not of courts,' Nirupam tweeted in Hindi. PTI ENM GK NSK NSK