Even before the construction of the Metro rail connecting Charkop, Bandra and Mankhurd could begin, the Bombay High Court on Thursday stayed the commercial exploitation of its 27 platforms, putting the project in jeopardy.
This means that till further court orders, Anil Ambani’s Reliance Infrastructure, which was awarded the Rs 8,000 crore Metro Rail II project in July, cannot sell space for offices or shops on and above the platforms on the metro line.
A senior government official confirmed that the court’s order could put a question mark on the commercial viability of the project. The Centre and the state together were to foot 50 per cent of the cost. “If the court does not allow commercial exploitation then the burden of the deficit will fall on the government,” the official said.
The order was passed in a petition filed by Juhu residents Alka Pandey and Mahesh Kothari. Their lawyer Mukesh Vashi argued that on August 17, the government issued a notification introducing DCR 68 A in the development control rules allowing extra floor space index (FSI) and commercial exploitation above the 27 platforms. He argued that the new clause was introduced after the project was awarded to R-Infra and the government did not follow the mandatory procedure of inviting objections and suggestions from the public. Vashi also alleged that the government had not obtained the mandatory sanction from the fire officer and Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) authority.
Justice D.K. Deshmukh and Justice R.G. Ketkar admitted the petition and it is likely to be heard post-Diwali.