Two weeks after stating that the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) had “blatantly violated” its interim orders against any construction in Goregaon’s Aarey Colony, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday permitted MMRCL to start work on setting up a casting workshop for the car shed on a three-hectare plot in Aarey.
The Tribunal, however, continued to deny the MMRCL permission to build the car shed for the Metro 3 line, which will run from Colaba to Seepz. The car shed is proposed to be built in Aarey Colony, and the work on it has been halted due to the NGT order.
On December 1, local residents noticed some construction work allegedly undertaken by the MMRCL in Aarey Colony and on December 19, the tribunal told the MMRCL to stop “any activity in the nature of dumping of debris, reclamation and levelling land in the additional 3 ha of land”, which was allotted to them.
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The NGT instructed the MMRCL to stop all activity and restore the land to its ‘original position’.
An NGO, Vanashakti, which had been pleading for a buffer zone around the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) and is also opposed to the car shed at Aarey, had approached the green tribunal seeking a stay.
“The hearing has been in our favour. We can resume construction at Aarey now. We will construct the casting yard and the offices for the contractors of Package 6 and 7 for now,” says Ashwini Bhide, MD, MMRCL.
A ready-mix-concrete (RMC) plant that had been set up at Aarey Colony on the three-hectare area has irked locals.
“The NGT on Thursday directed that the MMRCL cannot claim any damages or expenses for any work that will be undertaken to be done on the three-hectare plot. If the order goes against the MMRCL in the next hearing, it will have to pay for the restoration of the land,” said advocate Zaman Ali, who represents Vanashakti.
The NGT, in its order on July 2015, had directed that status quo be maintained in the entire Aarey Colony and no construction carried out in the buffer zone within 100 metres from the boundary of the SGNP without the approval of the Tribunal.
The matter will now be heard on February 17, in front of the west zonal bench of the NGT.