To save trees in the Aarey Milk Colony, the city’s green lung, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation has redesigned its car depot plan. The new plan has retained pockets of dense green patches within the area where the car depot has been proposed.
MMRC officials said the earlier design took 30 hectares space, while the new plan would cover 25 hectares. The MMRC is yet to assess the number of trees that will be spared the axe under the new design. Ashwini Bhide, managing director of MMRC, is positive the new design will be enough to protect Aarey Colony
The plan to build a car depot for the city’s Metro line has faced a lot of opposition from citizens, environmentalist and political parties alike. Bhide said the Corporation has made efforts to considerably reduce the number of trees that need to be axed. “It is not possible to create a mass transport system without affecting a single tree. When DMRC constructed metros in their first phase (in Delhi), 35,000 trees were axed and the compensatory plantation was also scientifically carried out,” Bhide said.
SK Gupta, director, projects, MMRC added, “In the new design, the areas with tree concentration have been left out. We cannot save all the trees but the trees in the five hectare area will continue to serve the city.”
Sena objects to Aarey car shed
Adding to the tussle with the BJP, Shiv Sena corporators in the planning committee for the Development Plan have objected to the hacking of 2,298 trees in Aarey Colony to make way for a car shed for a Metro line.
While the draft Development Plan (DP) 2034 has declared Aarey a no-development-zone (NDZ), it has allowed construction activities at certain areas. In the plan, the metro site has been identified as ‘transportation’ and despite several protests and campaigns by citizens, the BJP-ruled state government has given a nod for a car shed to be built in the city’s green lung. Trushna Vishwasrao, Sena leader and planning committee member, said the DP must adhere to a court order that restrains authorities from hacking trees for Metro 3. “Residents too have been campaigning to save trees. We have included our objection in the report.”
Sena leaders said the report will be submitted to the mayor before March 7 and tabled for the new general body of 227 corporators who have to pass the revised DP draft before March 20. The revised draft is the blueprint for the city’s infrastructure and was to be released in 2014.
The planning committee heard more than 12,000 objections from citizens and prepared a report. While Sena leaders and three experts appointed by the state have signed the final report, BJP group leader Manoj Kotak said he is still studying the plan.
“Those maybe their personal objections, I have not taken any objection on the plan,” he said. “Without the plan in place, the city is in a big trouble as many projects remain stalled,” said a senior architect.