MUMBAI: Former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis stirred a row on Wednesday by releasing excerpts from a report prepared by an expert committee set up by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray to suggest an alternative site for the Aarey Colony metro car shed.

Quoting from the Manoj Saunik report, Fadnavis said the panel ruled out shifting the shed to Kanjurmarg on grounds that it would lead to “operational complexities” and affect “operational efficiency” of two metro lines. The report also mentioned ongoing land litigation and cost escalations as deterrents.
The ex-CM tweeted extracts of the report to underscore his reasonsfor not putting the shed for the underground route (Line 3 from Colaba to Seepz) next to the depot for Line 6 (Lokhandvala-Vikhroli-Kanjurmarg).
“Significant changes will be needed in the Line 6 viaduct if the Line 3 depot is to be located at Kanjurmarg…huge changes will be required in tenders and contracts,” says the report by Manoj Sauvik, additional chief secretary, finance.
“Just imagine the cascading impact from the list given below,” said Fadnavis referring to the notes on revision of contracts for power supply and overhead wiring, prolonging of contracts due to design revisions, late availability of depots and viaducts, and late commissioning of rolling stock. He also drew attention to the findings on likely impact on signalling and telecom contracts and automatic fare collection contracts. Modifications will entail huge cost implications, the report had concluded.
Fadnavis said tunnelling work (on Line 3) is 76% complete but there would be no car depot for the next 4-5 years. “The entire economics… will collapse and it will become financially unviable. The delay will only result in cost escalation and this would mean high cost of tickets which ultimately, consumer will have to pay,” he said.
Since Line 3 is being handled by Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd, a joint venture between state and Centre, and Line 6 is under management of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, the Sauvik panel foresaw problems in integration as well.
“Administrative responsibility for revising, redesigning and constructing the necessary revised Line 6 works would have to be transferred to MMRCL to ensure joint running is operationally possible between Kanjurmarg and Aarey,” it said. MVA government has not accepted recommendations of the Saunik committee.
Fadnavis also cited the report to say the Kanjurmarg site bearing CTS number 657 was under “multiple litigations” before “various courts” with the state, a central agency and some private players all laying claim to it. “Some private parties were claiming the ownership of part land and had obtained a stay” from Bombay high court . However, senior officials countered this narrative saying the land under litigation was not the same as the one handed over for the car shed.

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