The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) will clear mangroves on a one-hectare (ha) plot at Bhakti Park in Wadala for construction of an elevated station of the 32-km-long Wadala-Thane Metro line.
“This is the only patch of mangroves on Metro Line 4 that we will be using. We have got permission from the Bombay High Court and all the other authorities. This plot does not have a dense mangrove cover. The forest department will also undertake compensatory afforestation,’’ MMRDA director (works) Pramod Ahuja said. Agency will fund the compensatory afforestation. Virendra Tiwari, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (mangrove protection cell) said, “We will be doing compensatory afforestation in our drives later.”
Environmentalists, however, have raised objection to the clearance and said despite adequate land available for building the station, the mangroves are being cut. “The non-mangrove wetland areas in the region were earlier handed over to private developers and now they are going after mangrove areas too. The BEST depot and truck terminal in Wadala have more than adequate space where a station can come up. This is completely unnecessary in our opinion,” environmentalist D Stalin of NGO Vanashakti said.
Activist Zoru Bhathena also questioned the MMRDA’s plan to cut mangroves on the entire one-hectare plot, saying that cutting off mangroves where the piers were to be erected would have sufficed. “To cut trees on a one-hectare plot for an elevated station is completely wrong when only mangroves around the piers/pillars need to be cut. That will help save a large number of mangroves,” Bhathena said.
Mumbai Metro Line 4 from Wadala to Kasarvadavali is a 32-km-long elevated corridor with 32 stations. The Rs 14,500-crore project is expected to provide interconnectivity among the existing Eastern Express Roadway, Central Railway, Monorail, and the ongoing Metro lines.