Vasai industrialists oppose Virar-Alibaug corridor

More than 200 industrialists met in the compound of Kapur Automobiles, Navghar, Vasai Road to protest against the government’s decision to acquire land in Vasai East for the Virar-Alibaug Multimodal Corridor, for which the government has already started the survey of the area. They say that if the project is implemented in its present design and form then the entire industrial area will be wiped out. They have already collected signatures of all the industry owners and met Hitendra Thakur, MLA, who is also the president of Bahujan Vikas Aghadi, in this connection. According to Anil Ambardekar, President, Vasai Industries Association, the present work of conducting survey by the government is being carried out without consulting the landowners and those who likely to be affected. The administration has not clarified the entire ramifications of the proposed corridor.

K Sajeevan, political activist, says “Navghar, Gokhivare, Valiv and Sativali are not merely revenue villages, but huge industrial areas with about 2,500 units, providing direct and indirect employment to more than 50,000 people. If this project is implemented, all these units will close down. For the last four decades, hundreds of units have relocated from dingy spaces in Mumbai to spacious premises in Vasai. Some industries have been here for more than 50 years. Now these units will have to be once again relocated to Bhiwandi, Palghar, Dahanu or Umargam to make way for this project. Neither the industrialists nor the labour force are interested to go to these areas as the social and industrial infrastructure, like schools, colleges, hospitals, medical centres, roads, railways, transport, markets, malls, housing and uninterrupted power and water supply, is very poor. This project will also badly affect the revenue of the Vasai Virar City Municipal Corporation.”

Sanjay Rane, a journalist who has been reporting on the development projects of this area says that connectivity by itself is not enough. Connectivity should enhance the value of industrial areas and not spell its doom. The government should consider realigning the present route with an alternative so that the industries will not be affected. He also said that some bureaucrats may use the project as a pretext to demolish all illegal buildings and slums in Vasai. Initially, builders were happy as they thought this project could boost the price of real estate and that all unsold flats will be disposed off quickly. But now having learnt about the ramifications they are no longer enthusiastic.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has pitched for financial assistance from the World Bank and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority has sought a loan of INR 14,000 crore to complete this project. The 128-km road is proposed to have eight lanes with a Metro corridor in the median. Proposed in 2010, the project envisages to provide connectivity to Palghar, Thane and Raigad districts. It will pass through 127 villages with interchange nodes with the Mumbai-Ahmedabad (NH- 8), Mumbai-Agra (NH-3), Mumbai-Pune Expressway and Mumbai-Goa (NH-17) highways. To be built in phases, this corridor will have 72 bridges, 21 flyovers, two overpasses and 35 vehicular underpasses. It will cut down travel time between Virar and Alibaug by 50 per cent, and is touted to create job opportunities in Virar, Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Dombivali, Panvel, Taloja and Uran. It is also expected provide an easy access to Navi Mumbai International Airport, Jawaharlal Nehru Port, and Mumbai Trans Harbour Link. It is also expected to carry all the traffic from JNPT towards Navi Mumbai, Thane and Palghar outside Mumbai.

Source: The Free Press Journal

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