The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) will start building the car shed for the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro-3 corridor at Aarey Colony by the end of June. MMRC officials said there was no stay on the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order, which prohibited construction of the depot at Parajapur village.
Activists had vehemently opposed the construction of the depot for the underground Metro corridor, citing environmental damage. Environmentalists had asked the NGT to declare Aarey a ‘no-development zone’.
“There was never a stay; the original petition filed in the NGT was regarding the eco-sensitive zone. The government has acted on the petitioners’ demands. It has now given us the go ahead,” Aswini Bhide, managing director, MMRC told HT. She said the firm has altered its depot design to minimise the number of trees that will need to be cut on the 25-hectare plot.
Bhide added that the corporation sought the advocate general’s opinion before construction began. “The AG’s opinion was sought and has been kept on record,” Bhide said.
The firm is currently seeking permission for tree felling in the area. “We are currently evaluating bids. A contractor will be appointed in the next two to three weeks. The contract will include the construction of the depot and and the station. Once we get permission to cut trees, our contractor can continue the geotechnical survey he started last month,” said Bhide.
Officials said they had started testing the soil at the area last month.
The 33.5-km Metro-3 corridor was stalled after protests from environmentalists. The delays have escalated the project’s cost. The estimated cost of the project is Rs23,136 crore, of which the cost of civil construction is Rs18,114 crore.
The corridor will be commissioned in two phases — from Aarey Colony to Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) and from BKC to Cuffe Parade. The first phase is expected to be completed by 2020, and the second one by 2021.