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Humble plea: Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray seeks the blessings of voters for the Assembly polls during the Shiv Sena’s Jan Ashirwad Yatra in Thane on Tuesday night.0

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Yuva Sena chief says Centre, State government and local bodies have to join hands to bring about a change in tender process to improve quality of roads

Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray, who has been vocal against the felling of over 2,600 trees in Aarey colony to make way for the Metro 3 car shed, has said that development should not come at the cost of citizens and the environment.

Mr. Thackeray was speaking to reporters on Tuesday night on the sidelines of Jan Ashirwad Yatra, a public outreach programme by the Shiv Sena ahead of the Assembly polls. Environmentalists and social activists have been opposing the Metro car shed project and demanding its relocation.

Mr. Thackeray said his party had also opposed the proposed ₹3-lakh crore Nanar refinery project in Ratnagiri district and it was aborted earlier this year because of the stiff resistance put up by the Sena.

‘Will back alternative site’

Justifying his party’s opposition to the project, Mr. Thackeray said the proposed location would have adversely affected the environment. He said, “Wherever else it is suitable to set up the project, the Sena will never oppose it if it does not affect the environment and locals welcome it. The Sena is not against development, but it should not come at the cost of citizens. We are against the Nanar project as sons of the soil are opposed to it.”

On rumours that former chief minister and Maharashtra Swabhiman Party leader Narayan Rane is likely to join the BJP, Mr. Thackeray said, “We don’t discuss such small issues. We have a big dream of creating a new Maharashtra. I want to build a new Maharashtra, which is the dream of every citizen, and bring the Mantralaya at the doorsteps of citizens.”

He said the relevant issues for the party are the recent abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir and the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Poor state of roads

On the numerous potholes in Thane, Mr. Thackeray said there are many roads in a poor condition across the State, including the Mumbai-Goa highway. He said, “There is a dire need to revisit the tendering system, which gives the contract to the lowest bidder. This affects the quality of construction.” Mr. Thackeray said the time has come for the Centre, the State government and local bodies to bring about a change in the process to improve the quality of roads. “This year there has been heavy rainfall and due to the ongoing Metro work, roads have become bad,” he said.

In search of support

The Yuva Sena chief prostrated before the gathering during the rally and sought the blessings of people so that the party performs well in the Assembly polls. Incidentally, Sena founder Bal Thackeray had also once sought the support of voters in a similar manner during an election rally in Thane. He said the Sena has “a special love and affection for Thane” as the region boosted his party’s prospects in the 1960s.

Mr. Thackeray told the gathering, “I want to receive the same love throughout the State. Whatever development work has happened [in Thane], I want to replicate it in the entire State. Hence, I have come to this city to seek your blessings.”

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