Mumbai: The protest over building metro car shed at Aarey colony is slowing down Mumbai metro work. Residents and activists continue to protest construction of metro car shed in the locality. In what seems like some relief, Bombay High Court has reserved orders. Maharashtra government has communicated to the court that it has followed all statutory and environmental rules before starting construction work. All due consonance was taken prior to the work.
The land under dispute is the part of the green belt of suburban Goregaon. Metro car shed is proposed at Aarey colony, the shed is part of the Mumbai Metro rail project.
Ashutosh Kumbhakoni , the advocate general representing Maharashtra government told the communicated to the bench of justices S C Dharmadhikari and P D Naik that contrary to the allegations, the site of the proposed car-shed was not part of any Ecologically Sensitive Zone (ESZ) or reserved forest area.
The state government law officer also stated that the project was vetted by the state assembly. Car shed is not a bus stop that can be relocated or shifted as an when required, stated the legal team of government.
The law officer also added that the car shed project is well researched and thought about plan and it needs to be aligned with the metro rail tracks. The location has been fixed after several considerations. The advocate general shared that the construction work was approved with all statutory and environmental rules.
The petition is filed by Zoru Bhatena and others alleging that the Maharashtra government had illegally tailored the draft Development Plan 2034 for Mumbai to show what was formerly a green zone as that reserved for a car shed for the metro rail development. Kumbhakoni was responding to the petition filed by the social activist.
In what is seem like a relief the bench has reserved its judgement on the plea.
The 25 hectares land allocated for metro car shed under controversy is located the Aarey Milk Colony. This land has been allocated for setting up car shed and other allied services – part of the Mumbai Metro III (Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ) line.
The petitioners have claimed that previously, the said plot was reserved as a ‘no development zone’ and that any construction in the area is likely to demolish extensive green cover and lead to an ecological dent.
Both Kumbhakoni, and senior advocate Aspi Chinoy, who appeared for the Mumbai Metro Rail Corp (MMRC), told the HC that while Aarey is in the neighbourhood of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and is ecologically rich, it has certainly not been officially marked as no development zone or an ESZ.
The bench has said that the metro project is meant for public welfare but it is causing problem to commuters commuting in that area. The judges said that this bench will decide whether or not any ecological rules were flouted while allotting the said land for the car shed project.