The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority has staked claim to 1,045 acres of land across Mumbai, as probable sites for Metro and Monorail car sheds.
“We’ve submitted a proposal to the government seeking reservation on 1,045 acres of land, as potential sites for car depots for the Metro and monorail projects,” MMRDA spoke-sperson Dilip Kawathkar said.
The 14 plots are spread across Oshiwara, Borivli, Ghatkopar, Malvani, Govandi and Dahisar. “Some of these plots belong to the Revenue Department, some are with private developers,” he added.
But it’s not a done deal yet. Many of these landowners don’t want to give up their land. One of them is the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, which refused to part with its 15-hectare Gorai dumping ground, which was shut recently.
“We wrote to the Urban Development Department seeking reservation of the dumping ground land for MMRDA. But the BMC declined to hand it over, as it wants to use the land for its own projects,” MMRDA Assistant Metropolitan Commissioner Ashok Wankhede said.
Land availability for car sheds is slowing down the MMRDA’s plans to build a 150 km Metro rail network and a 100 km Monorail. Car sheds and depots typically need large sweeps of land where rakes can be serviced and parked when not in use.
And in space starved Mumbai, finding such large tracts of land is turning out to be a stiff challenge. Both of MMRDA’s initial Metro projects were delayed, after running into problems with land for car sheds. The Versova - Andheri - Ghatkopar Metro line was delayed after MMRDA’s plan to allot 13.8 hectares for a depot ran into legal problems on the ownership issue. By the time the problem was sorted out, it had caused serious time and cost overruns.
MMRDA’s second Metro line, Charkop - Bandra - Mankhurd, is also in trouble, with protests against the 20-hectare depot meant to come up at Charkop.