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Another threat to Mumbai’s green lungs? MMRDA plans 32-storey Metro HQ in Aarey

A senior MMRDA official said the agency has sought a five-acre plot in Pahadi village, one of the 12 villages in the colony, to house a labour camp, a casting yard and Metro Bhavan.

mumbai Updated: Jul 13, 2018 11:46 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Metro HQ,threat to Aarey Colony
The 32-storey proposed building will also have commercial spaces that will be leased out. (HT File Photo/Used for representational purpose)

There’s a new threat to the green space of Aarey Milk Colony — a 32-storey “iconic” Metro Bhavan — an operation and control centre for the Mumbai Metro.

Last month, the state government granted the tag of special planning authority (SPA) to Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), to speed up five Metro projects. With the special tag, MMRDA will get possession of land parcels spread over 73 hectares in the city and Thane, and have the right over the alignment of five upcoming Metro corridors.

MMRDA plans to construct Metro Bhavan, as a centralised operation and control centre (OCC) for all the city’s Metro lines. The 32-storey building will also have commercial spaces that would be leased out. “We are working on the plan to construct the Metro Bhavan, an operation and control centre. The plot size is over 5.03 acre, and with the floor space index (FSI) of four, we plan to construct an iconic 32-storey building,” said Pravin Darade, additional metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA.

The proposed area for Metro Bhavan is near Seepz where a number of commercial establishments are already located. MMRDA has appointed a consultant to prepare a detailed project report for it. “We are the SPA now and hence there is no need to go to the civic body or other authorities for permissions,” said a senior official.

Aarey Milk Colony, in Goregaon east, is one of the last remaining green lungs of the city. Environmentalists, activists and even the Shiv Sena, which controls Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), have opposed the state’s plan to eat into portions of the region for the Metro project.

In the past, activists have opposed the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government’s plan to house a car depot for the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro-3 corridor in Aarey Colony. BMC has rejected a proposal to cut trees for the construction of the car depot on a 25-hectare plot adjoining the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road.

Now the decision to build a tower in Aarey Milk Colony could prove controversial. A senior MMRDA official said the agency had sought 20,387sqm or 5.03-acre plot in Pahadi village, one of the 12 villages in the colony, to house a labour camp, a casting yard and Metro Bhavan. Approximately 7,500sqm or 1.8 acres would be needed for the proposed OCC.

MMRDA could lease out a few floors of the building to generate additional revenue later. The parts of the plot that remain unused would be returned.

Stalin D, director of Vanashakti, who spearheaded the “Save Aarey” movement said that the step is a violation of the stay order by the National Green Tribunal (NGT). “There is a stay order on any activities by the NGT for the entire Aarey Colony. This attempt shows that the state does not care about the courts,” Stalin said.

First Published: Jul 13, 2018 11:46 IST