After stiff opposition to the construction of a car depot for the 33.5-km Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro at Aarey Colony, a state government-appointed panel is considering at least five other options to accommodate the car shed after discussions with activists and officials.
Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) officials, however, said that all the five alternatives will either hike the cost of the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro, which is already one of the costliest infrastructure projects for Mumbai at Rs 23,136 crore, or delay the project.
The panel is evaluating Kanjurmarg, Dharavi, a portion of the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) land, Bandra-Kurla Complex and part of the Mumbai University campus at Kalina as possible locations for the 30-hectare car depot.
Of these, open land could be made available at all locations except Dharavi, where the state government will have to rehabilitate slumdwellers to clear space for a 30-hectare car depot.
After vociferous protests over the proposed construction of a Metro car depot at Aarey, one of Mumbai’s few remaining green lungs, the state government had formed a panel to consider other options or find ways of minimising environmental damage at Aarey. “Options such as Kanjurmarg or Mumbai Port Trust land will necessitate a change in alignment. The Metro corridor will have to be extended by about 6-7 km if the car depot is proposed at Kanjurmarg, while for the MbPT land near Colaba, the alignment will have to be lengthened by 2-3 km. This will have a huge impact on the project cost. Besides, though satellite images show open land at MbPT, discussions with them have revealed that contiguous land may not be available,” the official said.
With the cost per kilometre working out to be Rs 690.6 crore for 33.5 kilometres, a seven-kilometre extension will translate into a cost rise of Rs 4,834.2 crore, while a three-kilometre extension will mean an escalation of Rs 2,071.8 crore. Activists, who had proposed the option of relocating the car depot to Kanjurmarg, said that the extension will benefit many areas lacking public transport connectivity.