What’s the value of 3,130 trees to be cut for Mumbai Metro-3 car shed? ₹742 crore a year, say activists | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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What’s the value of 3,130 trees to be cut for Mumbai Metro-3 car shed? ₹742 crore a year, say activists

Mumbai city news: The car depot, which will be designed for 35 rakes of eight-car trains across 25 hectares, is likely to lead to a loss of 3,130 trees

mumbai Updated: Jul 01, 2017 19:05 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Stalin D from NGO Vanashakti highlighted that cost of construction for the car shed is half the amount in terms of the value of the 3,000-plus trees.
Stalin D from NGO Vanashakti highlighted that cost of construction for the car shed is half the amount in terms of the value of the 3,000-plus trees.(File)

Taking a cue from the forest minister’s tweet that the ‘socio-economic’ value of a tree is Rs23.72 lakh a year, Mumbai’s tree conservationists calculated the worth of the 3,130 trees that will be cut for Metro-3 car shed at Aarey Colony. The value – a staggering Rs742 crore a year.

On Thursday, Sudhir Mungantiwar tweeted, “Humans fail to recognise the value of trees. Trees absorb, block noise and reduce glare from the sun. A well placed tree can reduce noise by 40%. We have asked MMRC to plant 100 times more trees than the trees they have cut.”

The MMRC on Thursday awarded the civil works contract for the car shed to Delhi-based construction company Sam (India) Builtwell Pvt. Ltd.

The car depot, which will be designed for 35 rakes of eight-car trains across 25 hectares, is likely to lead to a loss of 3,130 trees. The cost of construction of the car shed is Rs328 crore.

Environmental group Vanashakti alleged the MMRC has gone ahead with the work at Aarey without waiting for a final order from the National Green Tribunal (NGT), where the matter is being heard.

In June last year, NGOs Vanashakti and Aarey Conservation Group (ACG) filed a petition seeking long-term protection of Aarey landscape to consider it as forest and maintain it as no-development zone. The matter is up for hearing on July 24.

Stalin D from NGO Vanashakti highlighted that cost of construction for the car shed is half the amount in terms of the value of the 3,000-plus trees. “If we go by the average that a healthy tree can provide oxygen for 30 years, the loss would escalate to Rs22,000 crore. The estimated cost of Metro-3 is Rs23,136 crore. So there is no benefit,” he said. “Additionally, the MMRC has not submitted the details regarding permissions for work at the 3-hectare casting yard land or any other permissions from the state pollution board, civic body, land-use, among others.”

Activists said Aarey is a real-estate gold mine as the value of the Metro car shed area amounts Rs10,000 crore with an average floor space index (FSI) of 3. “It is clearly a real estate project for the authorities. They are getting Rs13,000 crore as 50-year interest loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The amount will ultimately have to be paid by citizens,” said Zoru Bathena, Khar resident and activist.

MMRC officials refused to comment about the loss of trees or their value, but said that they are not bound by NGT to start construction at Aarey. “There is no stay on Metro depot construction activity from NGT,” said an MMRC spokesperson.