Setback to Thackeray govt, HC stays Kanjurmarg car shed project

Bombay High Court - Kanjurmarg Car Shed - Uddhav Thackeray

Mumbai : The Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra suffered a major setback when the Bombay High Court on Wednesday stayed an order passed by Mumbai suburban district collector allotting 102-acre of salt pan land in Mumbai’s Kanjurmarg area for the construction of an integrated Metro car shed.

While giving a stay, a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni also restrained the authorities from carrying out any construction work at the said land.

The Chief Minister, Thackeray in October had said the controversial car shed for the Metrorail project would be shifted to Kanjurmag from Aarey, an area fixed by the then BJP-Sena government. The High Court, however, today stayed the construction at the new site and asked the Shiv Sena-led government to wait for its orders.

The decision came amid a tussle between the state and the centre over the ownership of the new site. In a petition filed in the High Court, the centre challenged the shifting of the project, stressing the land belonged to its salt department.

“We cannot allow the collector’s order of October 1, 2020 to continue. The order has to go. We are admitting the petition and granting relief as sought by the petitioner (Union government) in prayer clauses ‘h’ and ‘I’,” the court said. As per prayer clause ‘h’, the Union government had sought the court to stay operation of the collectors order of October 1, transferring possession of 102 acres of land to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for construction of an integrated car shed for a Metro line.

Reacting on the HC verdict, the deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar indicated that the state government may approach the Supreme Court against the Bombay High Court order. Without naming the BJP, Pawar told reporters the Maha Vikas Aghadi 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”.

On Tuesday, Thackeray had said in the state Assembly, “Politics shouldn’t come in the way of the development of the city. More than ownership, what is important is how the project will bring benefit to people.”