The Mumbai Metro’s 32-km long second line linking Charkop to Mankhurd via Bandra has hit yet another roadblock.
Even as the year-end deadline for the construction of the project is drawing near, the environment ministry has raised concerns about building off car depots at Mankhurd and Charkop as they would be on the Coastal Regulatory Zones (CRZ).
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDS), the nodal agency for implementing the line being built by Reliance Industries, has earmarked two places building car depots where Metro trains could be serviced.
The Charkop car depot is spread over 21.06 hectare of land, of which only 3.99 hectare is outside the CRZ. Similarly, of the 19.05-hectare land reserved for the Mankhurd depot, only 2.17 hectare is outside the coastal regulatory zone.
Since the depot will be on CRZ land, the MMRDA needs to get the clearance from the ministry of environment and forest for the project, which is estimated to cost around Rs 8,250 crore.
MMRDA officials claimed that they had been communicating with the central government for getting a clearance for both depots since 2009.
In September, the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the MoEF gave MMRDA conditional clearance saying they the car depot be built without a roof and not to carry out any kind of washing and maintenance of the rakes.
Furious with the environment ministry, MMRDA officials said projects important for the city were being stalled.
“We have taken enough precautions to ensure that the environment is not affected, but we also can’t allow a project which will benefit lakhs of Mumbaikars to be delayed by the whims of some officers,” said metropolitan commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad.
The MMRDA, in its response to the EAC, said that it had relocated all other activities apart from stabling and inspection of the rakes to non-CRZ, CRZ-II and CRZ-III areas by construction of stilts.
“Keeping the rakes in the open will lead to corrosion and affect their working,” said a senior MMRDA official said.