Metro-3 car shed : Maharashtra Government set an example of sustainable development can be achieved with development

Mumbai: The Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday announced to stop the construction of the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro car shed in Mumbai’s Aarey Milk Colony. The decision undo’s the decision of the previous BJP-led State government.

The decision was addressed online after the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition government scrapped cases against students and activists who had protested overnight felling of trees at Aarey in BJP-led State government period. Last year, on October 25, Massive protests erupted overnight over the late-night felling of trees by Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited. Thereafter the Save Aarey campaign kicked in.

Earlier, Shiv Sena, an ally in the Devendra Fadnavis-led regime backed people protesting for Aarey. Now, Shiv Sena in power with CM’s son Aaditya Thackeray the state’s Environment Minister, the previous orders were overruled in favour of Aarey. The work at Aarey was immediately put on halt after a day Shiv Sena Chief was sworn in as CM of Maharashtra ordered a review of the feasibility of relocating it elsewhere.

On Sunday, Thackeray said the new site for the car shed will be Kanjurmarg. “The land acquisitions for the project will cost it zero amounts. We will not let the money already spent on the construction at Aarey go to waste, we will use it for some other purpose,” he added.

In January, a four-member committee appointed by Thackeray explored the possibility of shifting the car shed elsewhere. The committee recommended that shed remains in Aarey, citing logistical hurdles, cost escalation, and further delay in the commissioning of the 33.5 km underground Metro route which was overruled.  Later, on the basis of recent report by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) that found technical merit in integrating the underground Metro line with another Metro line – the 14.5-km Jogeshwari-Lokhandwala-Vikhroli-Kanjurmarg line – near Aarey Colony. It also recommended relocating the proposed car shed to state-owned land that has recently become available in Kanjurmarg.

Aarey is a forest, one of the last vestiges of green space remaining in Mumbai. In Mumbai, especially in an urban set-up nowhere is there an 800-acre jungle. Aarey is an area contiguous to Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) – with over five lakh trees, grasslands, three lakes, two rivers, marshlands and wildlife in it. With its thriving leopard population of at least eight resident leopards and a host of other wildlife – some of which is endemic – it is nothing short of a biodiversity heaven.

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