Reacting sharply to cabinet minister Eknath Khadse's statement on allotting land inside the Aarey Milk Colony for the proposed Mumbai Metro 3 car shed, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis late on Wednesday said no decision has yet been taken.
"No decision yet on Aarey land to be given for Metro car shed. The report is still awaited," Fadnavis said in a tweet.
The chief minister's comment came barely hours after Khadse indicated that around 30 hectares of colony land would be allotted for the car shed as there was no other plot of this size available in the city.
However, the minister said it was subject to the final decision of a committee appointed for the purpose.
The committee was set up in March following massive protests against the proposal which would put further pressure on the last green lung in the city.
BJP's ally Shiv Sena, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, several NGOs, film stars and celebrities have spoken strongly against the move in the past.
Reacting to Khadse's statement, MNS president Raj Thackeray on Wednesday said his party has always opposed and would continue to oppose any move to construct the metro car shed inside the colony.
"The government has been shown other alternatives. For what is the Mumbai Port Trust land? Is it to be doled out to industrialists?" Thackeray said.
The MNS leader criticised the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena for continuing with the policies of the erstwhile Congress-NCP government and said that allowing the metro car shed inside the colony would mean "a defeat for the peace-loving people of Mumbai".
The 33-km Mumbai Metro 3 line, being constructed through the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, will be fully underground, running between Colaba to SEEPZ and is expected to be completed by 2020.
Partly funded to the tune of around Rs.13,235 crore by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Rs.23,136 crore project will provide connectivity between Nariman Point, Bandra-Kurla Complex, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport's domestic and international terminals, SEEPZ and other important locations.