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Amidst public protests against its demand for more forest lands from the Aarey Colony to construct another metro yard for the upcoming metro projects, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has decided to seek an alternate parcel of land at Wadala in the southeastern periphery of Mumbai.
Since the past two weeks green activists, celebrities and Mumbaikars are protesting against the Maharashtra government’s move to cut around 2,900 more trees in the Mumbai’s green lung Aarey Colony, which is considered as home of thousands of tribals and hundreds of wildlife species, apart from the unique flora and fauna, to build a metro yard for the 14.47-km long Lokhandwala-Kanjurmarg (Mumbai Metro 6) corridor.
After considering the issue, MMRDA official said to PTI,
We have decided to take up 28,000 sqft of land in the Wadala area to build the casting yard for the metro line 6. No land is being sought from the Aarey Milk Colony,” the official clarified.
It is pertinent to mention here that despite public protests, the state government had given its approval to MMRDA to capture another portion of Aarey colony greens to build a metro yard, which would have led to cut around 2,900 more trees as it was seeking an additional 2,775 sqm land.
On September 7, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid the foundation stone to build Metro Bhavan, metro car shed and also a casting yard deep within the 3,166-acre Aarey Colony, which is contiguous to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, the largest green lung of the city.
MMRDA failed to deliver the right message to the public. Amidst the rising public anger, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had last Friday defended the move to hand over more forest land from Aarey colony saying there is a need to balance development and environmental concerns.
The state is investing over Rs 1,25,000 crore through MMRDA in building 14 metro lines extending up to 337 km across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).
Stalin D, an environmentalist with the city-based NGO Vanashakti, said,
MMRDA’s demands are never-ending. We had opposed the car shed in the colony, which would result in felling thousands of trees. But the authorities didn’t stop at that, they decided to set up the Metro Bhavan. We are not fighting the metro but our fight is to protect the forests and the green area of the city.
The NGO had filed a petition with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) demanding that Aarey Colony be declared a ‘no-development zone.’ Ignoring the facts, Ministry of Environment and Forest in a notification had excluded a part of Aarey colony from declaring it as eco-sensitive zone, paving the way for the metro car depot for the upcoming Colaba-Bandra-Seepz (Metro 3) corridor.
Reminding the importance of metro yard, Ms. Ashwini Bhide, Managing Director of Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation said,
If you don’t have a metro car depot on time we can’t go ahead with the project. Trains have to be received and made ready. If we aren’t able to do it in time. All Rs.11,000 crore will go waste. This isn’t an eco-sensitive zone same like film City.
The Maharashtra government had also made an application to the ministry for the exclusion and had already handed over 33 hectares of Aarey land for construction of the metro car depot.
Nearly 30 percent of the 3,166-acre Aarey Colony land has been already leased out to various government bodies like veterinary college, police training and housing, the Film City, for animal husbandry and social forestry, among others.
The post Activists win over Aarey colony, MMRDA agrees to change depot location appeared first on Urban Transport News.
This article first appeared on urbantransportnews.com
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