IAS officer Ashwini Bhide made the MD of Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation
The Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government has given the additional charge of managing director of the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) to IAS officer Ashwini Bhide. The decision was taken by Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who wants the Metro 3 project, connecting Navy Nagar and SEEPZ, implemented immediately.
The work was held up as the then Sena minister Aaditya Thackeray wanted a Metro car shed in Kanjur Marg, as against the original plan at Aarey Milk colony, a property of the dairy development department. Fadnavis, during his previous tenure as Maharashtra CM had chosen Aarey Milk colony, a move which was opposed by environmentalists as the project demanded a lot of trees to be chopped. Fadnavis is likely to carry out his original plans again.
Bhide is an IAS officer of 1995 batch and holds the rank of principal secretary. The erstwhile Uddhav Thackeray government had kept Bhide in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) as additional commissioner – a secretary rank post, though the then Chief Secretary S J K Unte wanted her to head a department in Mantralaya.
At present, Bhide looks after the work of the eastern suburbs in BMC and the post of managing director of MMRC will be her additional charge.
Bhide headed the MMRC from 2015 to 2019 and had met with much opposition with the tree cutting in Aarey as environmentalists said that this was a habitat of leopards and other fauna from neighbouring Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
She was repeatedly blamed by environmentalists for tree felling. The Uddhav Thackeray government had announced a reserve forest status for 804 acres in Aarey. The MVA government wanted the carshed to be shifted to Kanjur Marg, to which the Narendra Modi-led union government objected. As a result, the project was stuck, though the tunnelling was complete.
Sources in the BJP said that Fadnavis was also quite upset with the environmentalists calling him names. In the first cabinet meeting, he told the urban development department officers to present a proposal in the next cabinet to have a car shed at Aarey.
The Metro 3 project is handled by MMRC and the post of MD had fallen vacant after Ranjit Deol was transferred earlier this year. The additional charge of MMRC was given to Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Corporation commissioner S V R Srinivas. The state government Tuesday gave the additional charge to Bhide.
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