After row over metro, Big B says he is proud Mumbaikar

Last Updated: Sep 01, 2010, 15:32 PM IST

Mumbai: Under attack from political parties for his comments on Mumbai metro, Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan today said that being a "proud Mumbaikar" he never opposed the development of the city.

The 67-year-old star claimed that his comments on his blog regarding the proposed metro track invading his privacy were misinterpreted by the media.

"Mumbai as a city has given my family and me a place in their hearts besides recognition and respect. My family and I have never, and at no point of time would ever, like to disregard the conveniences of my fellow Mumbaikars and the development being undertaken for a better future for the city and them," Bachchan said in a statement posted on his blog.

He said his post on the matter clearly talks about the "general happiness" that metro will bring to the commuters.

"Indeed I have ended the piece by saying welcome `fellow passengers`. By fellow passenger I include myself as one," said Bachchan, adding, "I am proud to be a Mumbaikar and I welcome the changes which are being seen in the city."

Bachchan said that he requested everyone visiting his blog to read it in it`s entirety rather than pick up words and fabricate stories which create unnecessary sensation.

In the post that created such furore, Bachchan had said: "It is finally happening. The Metro rail being laid over the metropolis called Mumbai, some under the ground, some above over large tracts of cement structures is taking shape. There is general happiness from the commuters, for, the misery of crowded locals and the uncertainties of the three-wheeler or the yellow-black cab shall hopefully be greatly reduced.

"But here is the killer! it`s going to roll over Prateeksha! So bye bye privacy and hello fellow traveller."

But after his comments were published in the media, they drew flak from political parties such as Shiv Sena, Congress and MNS.

Mumbai suburban guardian minister Naseem Khan of Congress said, "His remarks are very unfortunate. He should care for interests of other people also. Why should the convenience of one person take precedence over that of lakhs of commuters."

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said everyone wanted privacy but convenience of the people cannot be ignored.

MNS spokesperson Nitin Sardesai said development projects could not be stopped for the sake of an individual. If Bachchan did not object when the project was approved, then why is he doing so now, he asked.

The Maharashtra Government has decided to build the 32 km long Charkop-Bandra-Maknkurd metro route through MMRDA and 22 lakh passengers will benefit.

"Bachchan is a celebrity. But is it okay to criticise the entire project just because it hampers one`s privacy? His bungalow is not being affected. It is just that the route will pass through the area," Khan said.

PTI