Mission Mumbai
India Today|February 22, 2021
On January 29, Maha­rashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray unveiled the first driver­ less coach of the Mumbai Metro.
Kiran D. Tare

The moment was significant in light of the controversy that rages over the future of the three metro lines in the city. The Thackeray­led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government is fighting a legal battle with the Centre over possession of a 210 acre plot of land in Kanjurmarg, where the metro car depot is supposed to be built.

While inaugurating the coach, Thackeray called the metro a future attraction for Mumbai. “I was criti­cised for staying works but that is not true…you can see that work on a lot of public infrastructure is near­ ing completion,” he said. Critics say Thackeray’s enthusiasm is directly linked to the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) election, due in February 2022. The BMC happens to be the richest civic body in Asia, with an annual budget of Rs 39,000 crore. The Shiv Sena has kept a tight grip on the BMC ever since Uddhav’s debut in electoral politics in 1997. This time, political observers believe he faces a stiff challenge from the BJP, which has greatly expanded its base in the city in the past couple of years.

The driverless coach will run on the Dahisar­D.N. Nagar metro line 2A and Dahisar­Andheri East metro line 7, which are scheduled to open in May. Thackeray says the next 3­4 years are important for the city as many metro corridors will start operations.

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