The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) has awarded the contract for constructing the Metro 3 car depot in Aarey Colony to New Delhi-based M/s. Sam (India) Builtwell Pvt. Ltd., who have previously built depots for Delhi and Lucknow metros. With this, the metro implementing body has awarded the final civil contract for the project and plans to begin the actual work in the next two months.
In a press conference held on Thursday, SK Gupta, Director (Projects), MMRC, said, “We are pleased to award civil work contract for Aarey car depot construction. The contractor is mobilising the equipment and workforce; and civil work is expected to commence soon.”
The contractor is expected to complete the car depot in two-and-a-half years. Invited in January 2017, the tender, worth Rs 328 crore, includes the construction of the depot, a metro station, work workshop buildings and a vehicular underpass along the Marol Maroshi Road, with other allied works.
It also includes the construction of about 2.5 km of storm water drains, rain water harvesting system and the diversion of a MCGM water pipeline 1,200 mm in diameter. “The water pipeline will be shifted outside our plot on the side of the road. Also, once the car depot work begins, we will have to shift the Reliance power cables from our land. Their pylons are on the depot land and their cables coincide with the metro’s power cables. We will pay Reliance to move them underground,” added a senior MMRC official.
According to the invitation of bids, the MMRC will pay Rs 54 crore only for the excavation of the land and Rs 3,32,49,313 just for tree cutting.
To have 30 stabling lines, the depot is designed for 31 trains with eight cars each. To be constructed in a 30-hectare plot on the Aarey Milk Colony, the depot will eventually utilise only 22 hectares. Another three hectares will have the main line and the Aarey depot station.
“We redesigned the depot to leave out a 5-hectare area to save trees on that patch. That area has 1,073 trees and they will be maintained. If there is any possibility of planting more trees, we will do that,” said Gupta.
According to the MMRC, 3,130 trees will be affected on that land. Of these, how many will be cut and how many will be transplanted will be decided once the BMC’s tree authority grants permission.
Activists have raised a red flag over the plan, as the NGT has stayed all construction activities of the MMRC in Aarey.
“The MMRC refuses to pay heed to the NGT stay. They have consistently lied about their plans before the court and to the public. They had earlier filed affidavits in the High Court that they would cut only 350 trees in Aarey and later told the NGT that they will cut 500 trees. In reality, they are cutting over 3,000 trees,” alleged Stalin D, Director of NGO Vanashakti.
The MMRC continues to maintain that there is no stay on the land. “There is no NGT stay for construction on this land,” stated Gupta.