Environmental activists have reason to cheer as the expert committee appointed by the chief minister has reportedly recommended shifting the car depot for the Metro 3 project from Aarey Colony to Kanjurmarg. The committee has found a salt pan land at Kanjurmarg, which is under a legal dispute, for construction of the depot for the project.
Sources said the committee has also recommended merging the Metro 3, which has been planned from Colaba to Seepz, with the proposed JVLR-Kanjurmarg metro line.
Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) had been allotted 30 hectares of land at Aarey Colony for the depot. Now, it will require about 40 hectares in Kanjurmarg as the number of metro rakes will increase to 55, after the two metro lines merge.
The MMRC has, however, requested the committee to allot a small portion of land at Aarey Colony.
“We will need a little land at Aarey to park some metro rakes as we cannot take the operational risk of keeping all rakes at Kanjurmarg, which is about 40km from Colaba. We want a small piece of land at Aarey, which does not have trees, for a stabling yard,” said a source close to the project.
Environmental activists welcomed the development. “The move will not just save biodiversity at Aarey Colony but will extend the benefits of the metro project to people living along the JVLR,” said Rishi Agarwal, environmentalist.
In the first week of March, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had appointed the committee following opposition from locals, nature lovers and political parties to chopping trees at Aarey Colony for the construction of a metro depot.
“The elevated JVLR-Kanjurmarg line will cost around Rs 2,000 crore, which the state government can raise easily. And, we have already secured a loan for Rs 23,156 crore for the Metro 3 line. All we need is a few administrative approvals before work starts,” said the source.
Opposition to Aarey depot
* Residents of Aarey Colony and nature lovers had opposed the construction of a metro depot in the area saying it would lead to the destruction of greenery and wildlife
* Political parties too jumped in the fray to oppose any such activity at the Aarey Colony
* Residents of Chirabazar, Kalbadevi and Girgaum have opposed the demolition of their homes for the construction of entry/exit points.
The proposal earlier
* MMRC officials had earlier proposed to use half of Aarey Colony to build a double-decker metro car depot, which would have brought down the number of trees needed to be chopped from the earlier figure of 2,298 to about 500. However, the expert committee did not see any merit in the proposal.
* Before closing in on Kanjurmarg, the committee had also considered Dharavi, Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT), Bandra-Kurla Complex, the Mumbai University campus at Kalina and in Colaba, by reclaiming land, as possible locations for the depot.
* Cost of Metro 3: Rs 23,156 crore