No Mumbai Metro work near iconic SoBo building till it is strengthened, says HC
The Mumbai petitioners said that after drilling for Metro-3 began along DN Road in May, an ornamental feature of the building collapsed and garden tiles sunkmumbai Updated: Oct 14, 2017 00:05 IST
The Bombay high court on Friday refused to vacate its stay on Metro-3 drilling and excavation in front of the iconic JN Petit Institute, until the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) completes the requisite strengthening work suggested by a court-appointed committee.
“Complete the strengthening work as suggested by the committee and then come back with a request to vacate the stay,” a division bench of chief justice Manjula Chellur and justice Nitin Jamdar told advocate Kiran Bagalia, who represented the MMRCL.
The court was hearing a petition filed by two trustees of the JN Petit Institute. The directive came after the petitioners’ counsel, senior advocate FE Devitre, said the MMRCL did not intend to undertake all the suggested strengthening works before resuming the Metro work.
The petitioners said the grade-2A heritage structure was constructed in 1893 and has a shallow foundation — barely three-metre deep — which renders it vulnerable. The institute houses more than a lakh books, including 24,000 rare books and 12 manuscripts, some of which date back to the 17th century.
The petitioners said that after drilling for Metro-3 began along DN Road in May, an ornamental feature of the building collapsed and garden tiles sunk.
They said the intensity of the vibrations caused by the hammering — measured by an expert appointed by the Institute — was found to be 20 mm/second, which is four times the permissible limit. Acting on the petition, the bench appointed a committee to suggest how work on the Metro-3 could be carried out along Dadabhai Nowroji without damaging the heritage structure.
The committee, comprising a representative each of the petitioners — a trustee of JN Petit Institute, one of MMRCL and an independent expert from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay — recommended that vulnerable elements of the heritage structure be strengthened before additional support before work begins.
Bagalia urged the court to vacate the stay, saying construction work had been stalled unnecessarily. However, it refused.