In a clear indication of the state government’s resolve to move the Metro 3 car shed out of Aarey Colony, the contractor for the facility has begun clearing out construction material from the site.
Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) project director S K Gupta said that “the car shed site is being closed and secured”. Scaffoldings, shuttering, rebar (steel reinforcements) and construction debris are all being cleared out and pits being filled so that they do not remain a safety hazard.
“There are openings in the wall which are being covered and the area will be closed and secured,” Gupta said.
In December last year, CM Uddhav Thackeray appointed a committee to look for an alternate site for the car shed and stayed all construction at the 33- hectare Aarey site. Activists from the Aarey Conservation Group, who have been monitoring the site, said work was underway till last week on the construction of the ramp, which has been designed such that when the underground Metro reaches Andheri Seepz, it crosses over the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road and enters the 33-hectare site.
Rs 450 crore spent on Aarey car shed site
The project director of Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC), S K Gupta, said on Tuesday that when the state government issued the stay order on the Metro 3 Aarey car shed in December, work was ongoing at the site.
“Now, no new work is being carried out. We are simply removing the materials. We stopped work, but there is a lot of material that had been brought in by the contractor. These are now being moved to another site,” he said. When work started, there were 150 workers at the site, but now there are only 30, he said. He declined to reveal the deadline for shifting out the materials from the site.
Asked if the site would be restored to its original condition, Gupta said that no decision has been taken on the issue so far. “The project is under review at present,” he said. The Metro car shed site lies in the catchment area for Mithi river and its height was raised to bring it level with JVLR. MMRCL has said it has so far spent Rs 450 crore to develop the site.
The plan as approved by the BJP-Sena government was to use 25 hectares for the car shed, to maintain five hectares as a green area and three hectares of the casting yard to commercially exploit later to fund the Rs 23,000 crore Colaba to Seepz underground Metro project.
On September 3, Thackeray announced that 600 acres of Aarey Colony would be declared as a Reserved Forest. Last month he had directed MMRC and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to prepare a detailed project report for an alternative site.
The two places identified are Kanjurmarg, where the government has a 41-hectare saltpan land earmarked for the Metro 6 car shed, and the other is at Pahadi, Goregaon (West), where MMRDA has 89 hectares for a car shed.