The proposed second line of metro, connecting Charkop to Mankhurd via Bandra in Greater Mumbai, has hit a roadblock with a 'green panel' citing threat to the fragile mangroves because of the car depots meant for its maintenance.
To be constructed by Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA), the proposed 32-km metro rail with 27 elevated stations en route will be the longest metro corridor on public-private partnership.
Two maintenance depots at Charkop and Mankhurd (in an area of 19.69 hectares and 24 hectares respectively) have been proposed at the cost of Rs 1,532 crore in Greater Mumbai.
Recommending to "defer" the project, an Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Environment Ministry in a meeting asked the Authority to first get approval from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification.
The MRMDA had pleaded that the project was of public importance and would cater footfall of 12.75 lakh, 18.77 lakh and 22.16 lakh in the years 2011, 2021 and 2031.
The project's proponent pointed out that all the construction falling in the CRZ-I was proposed on stilt level, to avoid disturbance to mangroves, and that there was no other site available.
The EAC took note that the MCZMA last year had identified the project's "proposed activities are in CRZ-I and not permissible as per CRZ, 1991," and that its earlier reference were not provided as a clear recommendation.
"While the project proponent have presented some notable changes in the project plans as viewed from the previous position and partially in accordance with stipulations by the EAC earlier."
"However, the requirements under the CRZ Notifications are still not met," sources said, adding, that there is a ban on the destruction of mangroves as per the Bombay High Court orders.
It also expressed concern that a large number of piers to be constructed, for the proposed elevated corridor for the metro, will overshadow the entire area at the cost of mangroves.
Asking it to seek permission of the Bombay High Court with respect to the activities in mangrove area, besides from MCZMA, the EAC sought a proposal for compensatory mangrove plantation.