MMRDA Seeks Clearances for Mumbai Metro Bhavan on Aarey Plot

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has sought environmental clearance (EC) for the Metro Bhavan building inside Aarey Colony, MMRDA has also applied for a slew of other clearances that will be needed before construction work on the 32-storey structure can begin.

Change of land use clearance for Metro Bhavan, which will involve converting 20,387 square metres of land in Aarey Colony from a no development zone to a residential zone, has been sought from the urban development department (UDD).

According to a note on the project, which was shared with HT by an MMRDA official, the change of land use is “under consideration”. The note also says that work will begin once the multiple approvals and permissions have been granted to the project. “Till operationalization of the Metro Bhavan, the operation, command and control of Metro Line 2A and 7 will be done from Operation Command & Control Centre (OCC) planned at Charkop Depot,” says the note.

Also, no objection certificates (NOCs) have been sought from the chief fire officer, tree authority and storm water drains department (SWD). Only the SWD has given the project an NOC so far. The rest are listed are at different stages of being processed. An NOC from UDD’s high rise committee (which will examine the impact of the building on nearby infrastructure and environment) is also pending, as per the MMRDA.

HT had reported on March 8 that MMRDA has tabled a proposal before the state environment department to obtain an EC for the Metro Bhavan in Aarey Colony. For the time being, the EC has been deferred by the state environment department over a technicality.

The construction of the Metro-3 car shed was stalled after chief minister Uddhav Thackeray assumed office in November 2019. While over 600 acres of Aarey Colony have been declared a reserved forest since then, the government has not publicly cleared its stance on Metro Bhavan, which has been proposed on land in an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) within Aarey Colony.

“The stance seems quite clear now that various administrative nods for the project are being sought. MMRDA should first make public the minutes of the virtual public hearings from last year in which several citizens have voiced their objections to Metro Bhavan in Aarey [Colony]. The objections have to be acknowledged and responded to appropriately,” said D Stalin, director, Vanashakti NGO. Stalin has filed three petitions relating to the Aarey dispute in the Supreme Court.

MMRDA has also clarified that Metro Bhavan will require clearance from a monitoring committee overseeing the implementation of the December 2016 ESZ notification by the ministry of environment, forest and climate change pertaining to Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Sources in MMRDA said an application has been submitted to the committee.

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