MUMBAI: Apna Mumbai Abhiyan, an umbrella body representing about 32 non-government organisations (NGOs) and residents’ associations in the city, has demanded that the planned elevated Metro 2 corridor be made underground.
In a press conference on Thursday, its members said the BJP-led new government did not listen to their suggestions and complaints before taking the decision to make 40-km DahisarCharkop-Bandra- Mankhurd corridor elevated.
Initially, the Metro 2 was planned an elevated corridor, which was later made underground because of protests from local residents. However, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis reversed the decision, making the corridor elevated again, as building an underground corridor was expensive and time-consuming.
“The metro construction activities will go on for at least seven years, which will lead to pollution in the area. After Metro 1 (VersovaGhatkopar) was constructed, roads and footpaths were damaged badly. We want the government to make Metro 2 underground to save environment,” said Hansel DSouza of the Abhiyan. D Souza blamed the government of giving secondary treatment to people living in the Western suburbs over those living in the Island City.
Filmmaker and social activist Ashoke Pandit said the BJP government did not take citizens into confidence before overturning the previous Congress-led government’s decision of underground corridor.
Meanwhile, MMRDA officials refuted the allegations saying public consultation was done. MMRDA spokesperson Dilip Kawathkar said, “According to the original plan, the Metro 2 corridor is an elevated one and we held public consultation in 2004.”
The MMRDA is about to award contracts for civil construction of a part of the Metro corridor in the next few days. Architect Nitin Killawala, who is also part of the Abhiyan, said an elevated corridor will take more time to construct than an underground one. “The Metro 1 took about eight years because of delays in building bridges over railway tracks and highways. In case of Metro 2, the MMRDA will have to build bridges over Mahim Creek, Mithi River and two rail tracks. However, the underground corridor will not have any problem,” he said.