Activists CLAIM the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) has not obtained permission from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board to extract groundwater for washing at its car shed site in Aarey colony. MMRC officials were unavailable for comment.
Stalin Dayanand from Vanashakti, an NGO, has written to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) seeking immediate action. “No such permissions have been sought, much less given. In the list of bodies whose permissions are needed is the MPCB. Please see the file sent along if you have any doubts. We are attaching a document which is an RTI reply in connection with the same issue. Why is your department being taken for granted and ignored?” the letter said.
An RTI response received from MMRC revealed that it does not have the permission for the activity. When asked for a copy of the documents showing any application made for use of groundwater for the Metro car shed, they have responded with “not available at present stage”.
“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,” Stalin asked. “The proposed facility is sought to be set up adjacent to the Mithi river and… will worsen the pollution in the Mithi river. When the Railways needs your consent, how have you exempted MMRC?” he said.