The MMRDA’s decision to set up a car depot at Aarey Colony for the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ underground Metro has put environmentalists off. They want the agency to help preserve Mumbai’s last surviving green pocket.
“The underground Metro will help the city, but the MMRDA needs to see to it that the last remaining green pocket in the city is preserved,” environmentalist Rishi Aggarwal said.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is planning to build the 33-km underground Metro, which will run from Colaba to SEEPZ via Bandra. The agency held a public hearing on Wednesday to hear citizens’ views on the project.
The MMRDA had earlier planned to build the depot for the Rs21,000-cr line at Kalina. But it announced that the depot would be built at Aarey Colony.
MMRDA proposes to set up the depot over 30 hectares of land adjacent to the Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link Road. MMRDA officials said that the land was chosen as it was neither in the National Park, nor under Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) regulations. Metropolitan commissioner Rahul Asthana said the state government still needed to decide on handing over the land for the project.
Residents also suggested that the MMRDA link the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz underground Metro with the Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd Metro.
“This will mean that only one car depot is needed, at Charkop. No depot will be required at Aarey Colony then,” JVPD resident association member Nitin Killawala said.
Citizens also raised concerns over the rehabilitation of project-affected persons from areas such Chimatpada, Marol and Sahar Village, who would be rendered homeless because of the project.
“Thousands would have to be rehabilitated. Neither the state nor MMRDA have paid any attention to this problem,” Athak Seva Sangh chairman Anil Galgali said.
MMRDA officials said that they would be working with citizen groups and holding a separate meeting with them to address their concerns.