Work on the Dahisar-DN Nagar Metro corridor is likely to begin after monsoon as the state government has allotted an alternative site in Malad for the car depot, seven years after environmental concerns were raised over the original site. At the same time, it has scaled down the land requirement of the depot from 19.59 hectare, or 28.4 acre to 16.4 hectare, or 40.5 acre, because portions of the new plot have already been allotted for former Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s charitable trust and for court housing.
The state urban development department on June 21 issued a final notification to reserve the plot at Malvani, Malad, for a Metro car depot and allied uses for the elevated Metro corridor, part of the larger Dahisar-Bandra-Mankhurd Metro corridor.
“The government has decided to exclude land that was allotted to the Manjara Charitable Trust and for housing court judges since it was difficult to find alternative plots for them. So at least for now, these plots have been excluded,” said a senior official with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).
He said that ideally, a ground-level car depot can be comfortably built with a plot of at least 48 to 50 acre. “With at least 40 acre in hand, we can explore either crunching the capacity or building a multi-level car depot though that will lead to a cost rise,” added the official.
The 32-km Dahisar-Bandra-Mankhurd Metro, which was earlier meant to be limited from Charkop to Mankhurd, was stuck despite former President Pratibha Patil having performed its bhoomipujan seven years ago.
Although it had a green nod with the car depot meant to be on a plot with mangrove cover in the sensitive Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ), the environment clearance hinged on riders such as constructing the depot on stilts and prohibiting washing and maintenance activities, making the plot unviable.
The MMRDA had been trying to get the alternative Malvani plot, which the government has now decided to allot, since 2012 for the Metro project to move forward.
However, the various reservations on the plot such as recreation ground, government staff quarters, integrated healthcare, parking lots, roads as well as the reservation for court housing and an allotment to the Manjara Charitable Trust came in the way, despite the land being vacant.
Work on the 18.5-km Dahisar-DN Nagar Metro, to be built with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation roped in as the nodal agency, is likely to begin after monsoon this year.