The MMRC is not seeing Aarey for what it is and how Mumbai needs it.
Mumbai: In a fiery debate over the introduction of the car shed for the metro 3 line at Aarey Milk Colony, activists Monday challenged the claims of the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) regarding the unavailability of alternative lands.
In a first, activists and the MMRC came face-to-face in a discussion that ranged from the loss of a large number of trees in the last “green lung” of the city to the hampering of the Mithi River floodplains.
Maintaining the MMRC stance on introducing the car shed at Aarey, Ashwini Bhide, managing director of MMRC said that the site had been selected based on its connectivity to arterial roads and the airport. “The car shed will be used for the maintenance of coaches with electronics and signaling work and not just for washing the coaches. It will work as a nerve centre of the metro operations, which is why it needs to be strategically located at the beginning or end of the alignment. Moreover, it has connectivity to the airport and multiple road corridors like JVLR, Goregaon-Mulund Link Road and Marol-Maroshi road,” said Ms Bhide.
Ms Bhide refuted claims of the stretch of river present at the car shed site being the Mithi floodplains. “Seventy-five per cent of the land will be unpaved so there is no question of complete concretisation. We are channelising the Mithi river stretch for better drainage of excess water with the approval of the BMC. Film City and Royal Palms are also close to SGNP. Should they be removed as well?” she said.
Praveen Pardeshi, BMC commissioner, sounded a cautionary note. “The car shed has not yet been built but Mumbai still saw flooding in many areas. We need to ensure mitigation measures to curb flooding,” he said.
Meanwhile, environmentalist Zoru Bathena said, “The car depot for the existing metro line 1 is also far from the end and beginning of the alignment. The MMRC is not seeing Aarey for what it is and how Mumbai needs it. The state forests minister says that the socio-economic value of one tree is `23.7 lakhs. Imagine the value of 2,646 trees,” he said.
Stalin Dayanand, project director, Vanashakti, said, “The state government-appointed expert committee in 2015 said that the Mithi river stretch is a floodplain and tampering with the same could lead to flooding downstream.”