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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Woke activism and dystopian democracy delay Mumbai Metro project with huge cost overrun

The Mumbai metro was one of the most ambitious projects of the city that was expected to ease the traffic load both on the local trains as well as roads. However, the project is now turning into a white elephant all thanks to woke activism that was actively supported by Shiv Sena, Congress, and NCP who later joined hands to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.

Mumbai Metro 3 underground rail project delayed

The inability to find an alternate site for the metro car shed is expected to indefinitely delay the underground metro connecting Seepz and Cuffe Parade, a project that would have eased traffic along with ensuring connectivity and helping Mumbaikars to travel quickly from western suburbs to the town side.

mumbai metro
PC: Metro Rail News

TOI report on the issue says:

According to the initial deadline, phase I from Aarey to BKC was supposed to be ready by December 2021 and phase II from BKC to Cuffe Parade was scheduled to complete by June 2022. “About 70% of the project is complete and though the car shed comprises just 2% of it, the rail system cannot function without it,’’ said an official source.

Officials involved with the Metro 3 project said if the government were to pick either the proposed Kanjurmarg or Goregaon Pahadi site for the car shed, it will still take a minimum 3.5-4 years to get it commissioned.

“There is a general sense of disappointment and disillusionment among the designers, engineers and contractors working on the project because there is no clarity from the government. There is serious uncertainty,” sources said.

The MMRC has already given an order for 31 rakes and paid Rs 400 crore for them. Of these, two rakes are ready but have not been brought to Mumbai because there is no car shed and no trial track. Each rake is 180-m long and has eight coaches, which can carry 1300 people.

Mumbai metro car shed site controversy

While Aarey had been chosen as the site for constructing a metro car shed by the then Fadnavis government, activists backed by Christian missionaries had derailed the project. Political opponents had joined hands with these unscrupulous elements and subsequently, the MVA that came to power decided to move the car shed from Aarey to Kanjurmarg.

However, in December 2020 the Bombay HC passed orders staying the Kanjurmarg Metro Shed Project. In a major embarrassment for the MVA in general and Thackerays in particular, the MVA government was instructed by the court to stop work at the Kanjurmarg site.

While environmental concerns were being dished out as the reason for shifting the project, there was much going on behind the scenes. Hindupost had already done a detailed report highlighting how Christian missionaries were using environmental activism to grab the Aarey land. We had also brought home the fact that the Shiv Sena which is a part of the current MVA coalition government had lent its support to this movement.

Indecisiveness of MVA govt affecting Mumbai Metro project

Hindupost had brought out how the indecisiveness of the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government was affecting the project which is now staring at a cash crunch. The project is being funded by Japan and despite, the Japanese Ambassador writing to CM Uddhav Thackeray about the imminent cash crunch as early as February this year, the MVA cabinet has remained indecisive.

Who pays the price of woke activism?

Politicians, so-called influencers, activists, media, and others joined hands to actively stop work on the Aarey metro car shed only because they are opposed to PM Modi and by extension to BJP.

They aren’t bothered as much about the environment as they are about ‘fascist BJP’. The entire cabal propagated the myth of fascism to give wings to their agenda of opposing development when BJP is in power.

Therefore, we can see cabal members drawing false equivalence just to appeal to the woke populace that hardly bothers about facts. This is how people like Satish Acharya peddle their agenda by using red herrings as can be seen in the cartoon below.

mumbai metro
PC: OpIndia

Others like Zoru Bathena are smart enough to shift the blame onto the Centre rather than upset the ‘secular’ MVA government.

mumbai metro
PC: Twitter

If they were really concerned about the environment, they would have taken the facts into consideration.

As Hindupost had pointed out earlier:

The proposed Metro Shed is to be constructed on the outer rim of Aarey colony, away from eco-sensitive zone. Also, it will be spread over 25 hectares, as against the 30 hectares proposed earlier, thereby leaving considerable amount of greenery intact.

Another important point to be noted is that just 2700 of the more than 4.5 lakh trees will be felled; that is 0.6% of the total trees in the area and MMRCL has assured that as compensation it will plant 6 trees for every tree that will be cut down as part of the project.

In addition, the Bombay High Court has assured that a monitoring mechanism would be in place to ensure that MMRCL complies with the conditions. Therefore, fears of environmental damage are unfounded.

While armchair activists used the smokescreen of ‘environmentalism’ to derail the project, it is the common Mumbaikar who’ll have to bear the cost of the delay. The same set of self-declared ‘environmentalists’ maintained a studied silence even as the Aarey plot was being commercialized by the MVA government that is being lauded by the likes of Bathena.

The hollowness of the Thackerays’ environmental concerns is exposed when Aditya Thackeray’s pet project is allowed to go on despite the fact that it has been damaging the Powai Lake ecology.

The entire opposition to the Mumbai metro project was nothing but Modi hatred disguised as activism. As rightly pointed out, virtue-signaling provides the convenience of taking positions without being accountable.

The numerous woke ‘save Aarey’ activists have conveniently moved on in life after having their shot at the limelight while the common Mumbaikar is left in the lurch. The five-star activists have probably found the next hashtag that can help them trend but Mumbaikars would have to bear the burden of the escalating costs.

The wokes would continue lecturing the commoners on the necessity to ‘save the environment’ from the convenience of their air-conditioned rooms while common folk continues sweating it out on the road.

They can afford to grandstand because unlike the common Mumbaikar who depends on public transport, wokes have fuel-guzzling, environment-damaging SUVs at their disposal. The common Mumbaikar, in the meanwhile, would be paying higher taxes, waiting longer for the metro that would save travel time, and continue to suffer health hazards posed by pollution.

On the other hand, woke activists, influencers, their media backers, and political supporters have already found the next ’cause’ and are ready to lecture the commoners from their luxurious couches while sipping wine.

(Featured Image Source: TOI)

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