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Mumbai’s first underground Metro-3 line trials commence



Marking a breakthrough, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis flagged off the trial runs on the city’s first fully subterranean Mumbai Metro 3 line, here on Tuesday.

The work on the 33.50 kms long Metro 3 corridor started in 2016 and the first phase is likely to be completed by end-2023.

Shinde, Fadnavis and Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) officials waved the green flag for the trial run at Sariputnagar in Aarey Colony temporary car-shed inside a 3 kms tunnel till the Marol Naka Station.

Speaking on the occasion, Shinde said that nothing will stop the progress of Mumbai and Maharashtra after the new government took office on June 30, 2022.

Fadnavis said that the opposition to the Metro car-shed in Aarey Colony was more political than environment-related and indirectly flayed the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress government for delaying the much-needed project.

MMRCL officials informed that the test runs of the metro rakes over the next three-six months would comprise various parameters like speed, emergency brakes, oscillation in the tunnel – a first for Mumbai.

The Metro 3 line will connect Colaba in south Mumbai to SEEPZ in north-west, via Bandra with the first phase likely to be operational by Dec. 2023 and the next phase by June 2024, said the officials.

As per original plans, the line was slated for completion in December 2021, but was bogged down due to the car-shed row coming inside the Aarey Colony and the MVA government had shot down the proposal in November 2019, to shift the car-shed to a new site in Kanjurmarg.

After coming to power two months ago, the Shinde-Fadnavis government spiked the MVA’s move and restored the car-shed location from Kanjurmarg back to Aarey Forest, attracting howls of protests from the Sena-NCP-Congress and environmentalists.

The delays have led to a cost escalation from the original estimates of Rs 23,000-crore to now around Rs 37,000-crore, and the complete project is now slated for completion only by mid-2025.

The current status of the project is nearly 99 per cent of the tunnel digging works are completed, 84 of the civil works, giving an overall project execution of around 70 per cent.

The 33.50 kms Metro 3 will have 27 stations en route, including 26 underground and one at ground-level, with a portion of the line running under the Mahim Creek and the Mithi River.


As MVA wins 3 out of 5 MLC seats, Saamana editorial mounts attack: ‘Educated people rejected Fadnavis-Shinde…’




Maharashtra: In a scathing attack on Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government for its drubbing in recently held MLC polls in the state, ‘Saamana’, the official newspaper of the Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray faction said that the educated people have rejected the ruling alliance of BJP and Shiv Sena (Shinde faction).

‘MLC results will put brake on the falsity of the Fadnavis-Shinde govt’

Saamana in its latest editorial said, “The result of the election of the five Legislative Council seats of the state is the mandate of people of Maharashtra. BJP got only one seat out of five. The BJP-Shinde alliance was defeated. These results will put a brake on the falsity of the Fadnavis-Shinde government.” The party said that the BJP-Shinde alliance was rejected by educated people of the state as only they exercised their vote in the recently concluded Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) elections o n five seats.

The three teachers’ constituencies of Konkan, Aurangabad and Nagpur, and two graduates constituencies of Nashik and Amravati went to polls on 30 January and the counting of votes began Thursday.

MVA upsets Shinde-Fadnavis alliance by winning 3 MLC seats

The results brought cheers to the tripartite alliance of Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) as they won three of five seats and an upset for the ruling alliance of Bharatiya Janata Party- Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, who were facing their first polls after joining hands in June last year.

The results are also seen as a setback for the BJP-Shinde government as they bagged only the Konkan seat.

BJP candidate Dnyaneshwar Mhatre trounced MVA-backed nominee Balaram Patil from the Konkan teachers’ legislative council constituency.

Reacting to this, the Uddhav Thackeray camp in its mouthpiece said that the credit belongs to the winning candidate Mhatre more than BJP as the party got a ‘readymade’ candidate.

BJP won Konkan seat by bringing in ‘readymade’ candidate

“Dnyaneshwar Mhatre from Kokan constituency (Teacher) defeated sitting MLC Balaram Patil. Balaram Patil was the candidate of the Shetkari Kamgar Party (SKP), but MVA supported him. However, the teacher voters of Konkan gave a different verdict this time. The weak alliance of BJP-Shinde won the only seat of Konkan. In this, Mhatre deserves more praise than BJP as he is not a native BJP man. They got a ‘readymade’ candidate and luckily they won,” it said.

Shiv Sena also refuted the claims of receiving a setback after its loss in the Konkan seat and said that it is ‘totally rubbish’.

“The decision, given by the graduates-teachers is the latest public mandate of Maharashtra. BJP and Shinde government have to digest many shocks now as this is just the beginning,” the editorial read further.

Expelled Congress leader wins Nashik seat

In the MLC elections, MVA won three seats Aurangabad (Teachers), Nagpur (Teachers) and Amravati (Graduates) and BJP won the Konkan (Teachers) seat, while the remaining Nashik (Graduates) seat was bagged by an independent candidate and expelled Congress leader Satyajit Tambe.

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BMC: For 1st time, civic body’s budget shoots over Rs 50K cr – higher than many states




For the first time in its 134-year-old history, the country’s richest civic body, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)’s budget for 2023-2024 has crossed a staggering Rs 50,000-crore mark — higher than many of the smaller states in the country.

The budget estimates, presented on Saturday by BMC Commissioner I.S. Chahal came ahead of the civic elections which are likely to be announced soon, and promised sustainable local economic development for the country’s commercial capital.

The budget estimates for the new fiscal is proposed at Rs 52,619.07 crore, an increase of 14.52 per cent over last year’s Rs 45,949.21 crore (2022-2023) and the previous year’s Rs. 39,083 crore (2021-2022).

Targetting a ‘net zero’ on the environment front in the near future, the budget emphasises rapid infrastructure development, cleanliness, health, education, urban greening and making monsoons hassle-free for the citizens.

For the first time in 38 years, the BMC is being run by an Administrator in the absence of an elected civic body and hence there was no Mayor, a General Body or Standing Committee for the budget presentation exercise on Saturday.

Chahal has also proposed a total Budget Provision of Rs 2,650-crore is proposed in the Revised Estimates (RE) for 2022-23 and Rs 3,545-crore in Business Estimates (BE) 2023-24 for the Coastal Road Project, one of the mega-infrastructure projects taken up by the BMC.

Hoping to give relief to Mumbai residents from monsoon floods, of the 386 chronic flooding spots, 306 have been tackled, 34 will be completed before the monsoon season 2023, and the remaining 6 later.

The BMC plans to plant 100,000 trees through ecologically sustainable planting practices, and Rs 1,729-crore shall be spent on various beautification initiatives for Mumbai bridges, footpaths, dividers, trees, etc.

Under the Ashray Yojana, the budget makes a provision of Rs 735.12-crore in the RE 2022-23 and Rs 1,491.50-crore in BE 2023-24.

A sum of Rs 227.07-crore is proposed to enhance the city’s fire-fighting forces in this budget.

There is a provision of Rs 887.88-crore (RE) and Rs 1,376-crore for the Water Supply Project, and Rs 2,021.06-crore (RE) and Rs 3,566.87-crore for the Mumbai Sewage Disposal Project department.

The city’s BEST will get an assistance of Rs 800-crore for its various schemes, setting up a dedicated Climate Action Plan Cell (CAPC) and installing Air Purifiers at the most congested areas like Dahisar Toll Post, Mankhurd, Mulund Toll Post, Kalanagar Junction, and Haji Ali Junction, in 2023-2024.

Chahal assured that coming off the Covid-19 pandemic of the past two years, the civic body will make the citizens’ life more comfortable but will be “well-prepared” for a Covid wave or any other pandemic.

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‘You resign first’: BJP leader Ashish Shelar on Aaditya Thackeray’s challenge to CM Shinde




Maharashtra: BJP leader Ashish Shelar on February 4 accepting Aaditya Thackeray’s challenge said that he [Thackeray] should resign first and then they can see who is winning.

Shelar’s statements came after Thackeray scion challenged Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and the legislators who joined him in his rebellion.

Aaditya Thackeray’s open challenge to Shinde faction

Thackeray earlier said, “The 13 MPs and 40 MLAs have betrayed [Maharashtra]. I challenge them to resign and face elections. I want to see if they will be elected again. I will challenge the CM to contest elections from Worli opposite me; I will tender my resignation.”

Thackeray made those comments while addressing a party meeting in Anushakti Nagar.

He also reportedly said that the Shinde faction is using Mumbai and Maharashtra for their vested interests and that concerns him. He also commented on BMC polls and said that he feels the city is under dictatorship as the civic body polls have not been held for a year now.

Furthering his jibe, he said that instead of announcing BMC polls, they have appointed administrator who listens to CM’s orders.

Barbed exchanges since vertical split in Shiv Sena

Since the vertical split in Shiv Sena, the Shinde and Uddhav Thackeray factions have sparred with words and exchanged barbed comments. Constant open challenges are made.

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