against Mhatre. He said that on the same day he got to know that some illegal construction is being carried out in the area and that the work was done by Sonali Constructions owned by Sanjay Mhatre. When he asked around, someone called a Bharat Mhatre. “Both men allegedly beat me and my friend and locked them in a nearby gala,” said Pagare.
“We are verifying both the allegations and no arrests have been made yet,” says S J Shirsath, senior police inspector, Vithalwadi police station. This April, the work on the additional tracks on the Thane- Diva stretch will enter its tenth year, however, the work is nowhere close to complete, showing how seriously the Indian Railways actually take project deadlines. Tired of the seemingly never- ending delay, commuters have now taken to social media to voice their protest.
The work for the fifth and sixth lines between Thane and Diva began in 2008 under Mumbai Urban Transport Project- 2, however, the authorities haven’t been able to complete the work on the 9.9- km stretch until now. The delay has also resulted in losses to the public exchequer. Once ready, the lines will segregate long- distance trains from the suburban services, enabling more suburban trains to run on the fast line.
“The railways are never serious about executing projects beyond Thane. Look at the delay in the work on the 5th and 6th rail lines between Thane- Diva. Is there any deadline for this?” questioned U Patil, a resident of Thane.
The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation ( MRVC), which is completing the project, claims to have faced many hurdles. “There were over 450 illegal structures and buildings that had to be cleared over the years. These were political vote banks that delayed things. Now we aim to get the project ready by March 2019,” said an official from MRVC.
The earlier deadline was December 2017. The 5th and 6th lines will run between Kurla LTT- Thane and DivaKalyan. It will segregate mail/ express services from the local trains and allow Central Railway to add 100 more local train services on the route. Farmers from Diva, Agasan, Mathardi will gather in front of the Thane District Collector’s office on May 10 in order to protest the state’s acquisition of their lands for the bullet train project. Farmers, who will be at a loss of over 500 acres of land, are protesting the land acquisition for Mumbai- Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Corridor ( or bullet train) alleging that the acquisition will add salt to their injuries.
Farmers alleged that in the past the government has taken away their lands for urbanisation and has stopped their sources of livelihood. “The government has always taken away our lands for building MIDC, HUDCO, CIDCO, ports, airports, railway in the name of development. Later, the companies and mills on these plots closed and the land was sold to real estate developers at sky high prices while we got a shabby deal,” said Govind Bhagat, president, Aagri Yuvak Sanghatna ( AYUS), Maharashtra.
He said the farmers from Virar to Shil Phata as well as from Gujarat would oppose the project. “We do not want to give away our land for bullet train or any government project. And we will intensify our struggle if we are forced to,” Bhagat said.
Dr Prashant Narnaware, collector of Palghar, who is also acting collector for Thane in the absence of Dr Mahendra Kalyankar ( on leave for a month) was unavailable for comments.