In a reprieve for Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the Bombay high court (HC) yesterday (Friday, 26th June 2020) allowed the authority to begin work on Metro line 6 at Swami Samarth Nagar in Andheri, which falls in coastal regulation zone-1 (CRZ-1).
No mangrove destruction is contemplated in construction of Metro line 6 at Swami Samarth Nagar, as the proposed construction of 26 piers in CRZ-1 are to be constructed on the median of already existing Beek Road.
MMRDA was, however, compelled to move high court seeking specific permission for carrying the work in CRZ-1 area because the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) had imposed a specific condition of obtaining HC permission for starting the work.
In the petition filed through advocate Saket Mone, MMRDA stated that it could not start work on the Metro line as part of the work at Swami Samarth Nagar was affected by a 50-metre mangrove buffer zone.
Acting on public interest litigation filed by city NGO, Bombay Environmental Action Group, the high court has issued a series of directives in October 2005 for protection of mangroves along the coastline. As part of the measures, the court has prohibited construction in mangrove areas and has also directed planning authorities to keep the area of 50 meters surrounding mangroves as a buffer zone where no developmental activity could be carried out.
The division bench of justice RD Dhanuka and justice Madhav Jamdar also allowed MMRDA to construct compound walls in 50-metre mangrove buffer zones at Turbhe and Mandale on Metro line 2B, which connects DN Nagar in Andheri to Mandale in the eastern suburbs. According to Mone, construction of this compound walls is part of the Metro project and is necessary to protect mangroves in the area.
Metro line 2B is a 23.6 km corridor which connects DN Nagar in Andheri West to Mandale in eastern suburbs, whereas 14.5 km Metro line 6 connects Swami Samarth Nagar in Andheri to Vikhroli on the Central line.
The bench allowed MMRDA’s plea on the ground that both the corridors are important parts of the 310-km long Metro network, being developed in Mumbai Metropolitan Region.