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ajit pawar: Maharashtra government may approach SC on HC’s Metro car shed order: Ajit Pawar

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MUMBAI: 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 a court decision. Hence, it will be thought about,” the deputy chief minister said.

The Bombay HC on Wednesday stayed the order passed by Mumbai suburban district collector allotting 102 acre 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 Maharashtra government 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.

The present Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government, comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, recently took a decision to shift the 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 Union government 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.

Pawar said “be it the Centre or the state government”, nobody should lay roadblocks in the development works.

“I have seen (NCP chief Sharad) Pawar Sahebs 50 to 55 years of political career. I am also in political field for the past 30 years. I never bring politics in developmental works, rather we help,” he added.

Maharashtra Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray said he is waiting for the court’s detailed order.

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

“Honble HC has granted a stay to Kanjurmarg work. We await the detailed written order to decide the future course of action,” he said.

“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.

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