Activist moves HC supporting Mumbai Metro car shed at Kanjurmarg
Activist Zoru Bathena has filed an intervention application in the cases being heard by the Bombay high court (HC) in the Kanjurmarg Metro car shed matter.
The activist, through title documents of the land at Kanjurmarg has claimed, that the plot of land earmarked for the depot, which both the Union of India through the salt commissioner and an independent person claim to have ownership, is not valid. The application states that the said land is apart from the land the title of which is with the Union of India and the individual, hence the state has a right to develop the said land as a depot.
In light of these submissions, the activist who has been advocating the construction of the depot at the spot since the first proposal was mooted for Aarey, has prayed that the stay by the HC in December 2020 on the Metro car shed construction activity be vacated so that Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) may go ahead with the construction activity.
According to the application, the information is based on a study of land records from 1906 onwards when the Union of India acquired over 1,400 acres of land for salt pan activity. In 1922, four plots had been made out of the said land out of which three plots were surveyed and numbered while the fourth plot remained unsurveyed. This unsurveyed plot later came in the possession of Arthur Salt Works and thereafter Garodia possessed it. The application states that the depot is proposed to come up on the three numbered plots and hence Garodia’s claim is unsubstantiated.
The application further states that even though the UoI had acquired the land in 1906 the plot where the depot is proposed was never utilised for salt pan activity as it was away from the creek, hence the UoI could not claim it to be part of the land under the Salt Commissioner. The application also states that the proposed plot for the depot is not within CRZ limits.
In light of these submissions, the application states that even if the claims of both the UoI and Garodia was assumed to be correct they would be compensated for parting with the land in the interest of Mumbai’s public transport system and Mumbai’s fragile ecology. The application thus seeks a vacation of the December 16, 2020 stay on construction activity at Kanjur.
The court while stating that it would not be hearing any applications individually, said it would take up the application during the final hearing to be held on March 19.
While speaking to HT, Bathena said that the plot in question where the government proposes to build the integrated Metro car shed was already earmarked for the Metro-6 line depot in 2016 and the UoI had agreed to transfer the land to MMRDA hence its objection to transferring the land now that the Aarey car shed is also going to be shifted to Kanjurmarg is surprising.
Meanwhile, public interest litigation (PIL) has been moved in the HC seeking continuation of the previously planned car shed at Aarey. The PIL filed by three city residents has pointed to the fact that the decision to construct the Metro car shed was taken after due deliberations by all authorities and only after it was concluded that the Aarey Milk colony land was the most suitable for the depot had work commenced on it.
The PIL states that the decision of the current government to shift the same to Kanjurmarg by modifying the reservation of the land from public purposes to car metro depot is illegal and undoubtedly a ploy to subserve the political ego, hence the decision should be set aside and the car shed be ordered to be constructed at Aarey itself.
The court said it would hear the PIL after the issues arising out of the other petitions were resolved.