The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) began construction of the car depot for Metro 3 at Aarey Milk Colony without obtaining permission from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), an Right to Information (RTI) reply has revealed. The construction of the depot began in August last year, but permission was sought only on April 5, 2018, the reply states.
“All along the MMRC has been saying that they do not need any permission to work in Aarey then why apply now. They are not even sure of their stand. Further, the RTI response states that the application is incomplete. They have been working on the site for so many months, levelling the ground and destroying the trees, while they did not have the permission,” said Stalin Dayanand, Director, NGO Vanashakti, who had filed the RTI.
Another RTI reply in February had revealed that MMRC had not sought permission from MPCB to extract groundwater for washing at the car shed site in Aarey colony. Stalin had then written to the MPCB stating, “Any industry that requires extraction of groundwater needs permission from statutory bodies and washing of the Metro rakes in the depot is going to require lakhs of litres of water. It is in an eco-sensitive zone and water should not be extracted from the ground. After doing all the damage if they are denied permissions later, can they restore the area.The proposed facility is sought to be set up adjacent to the Mithi river and. will worsen the pollution in the river.” he said. Both MPCB and MMRC officials remained unavailable for comments.