The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRC) has chopped hundreds of trees on a 3-hectare plot along the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR) and destroyed water channels that flow into the Mithi river, alleged non-government organisation (NGO) Vanashakti on Tuesday.
MMRC officials, however, said there was no violation at the site. “MMRC is following all the legal procedures,” said a spokesperson from MMRC.
The state had allotted the plot to the MMRC to set up a casting yard for the Metro 3 project — which is expected to connect Colaba to Bandra to SEEPZ in Andheri — after the National Green Tribunal, Pune, permitted the development, subject to mandatory clearances.
Vanashakti filed a complaint with the civic body and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) on Tuesday. The NGO attached satellite images of the site, alleging that MMRC neither had the MPCB’s permission to operate in the area, nor approval from the tree authority to cut the its green cover.
NGO members said the area was marked as a ‘no-development zone’.
- In January, HT had reported that a ready-mix-concrete (RMC) plant, set up at Aarey Colony to provide construction material for the proposed Metro 3 project was shut down by the state pollution control board.
- The board said the plant did not seek consent to operate and was contributing to pollution in the area.
“Photos of the wall and satellite images of the site from 2000, 2016 and 2017, clearly show that trees have been destroyed and the area has been reclaimed and levelled. It also shows that sheds were constructed without prior permission,” said Stalin D, project director, NGO Vanashakti. “We request that the work be stopped immediately and the water channels be restored,” he added.
He said MMRC had cordoned off the area using tin sheets and deployed heavy security personnel to prevent people from entering or viewing the site.
MPCB officials told HT that MMRC had not applied for consent to begin work on the metro car shed, stabling lines or casting yard.
“While MMRC received environment clearances (EC) from the Union environment ministry, under the eco-senstive zone notification, the local pollution control board needs to verify if the corporation is following conditions mandated under the EC. MMRC needs to seek consent from the MPCB,” said a senior MPCB official, who did not wish to be identified.
Officials from BMC’s tree department said that they would check if MMRC had permissions to chop trees.“We need to check the permissions,” said Pravin Gosavi, deputy superintendent of gardens,BMC.