Continuing pressure from environmentalists has forced the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) to redesign its Metro 3 car depot in Aarey to ensure it affects lesser number of trees. Leaving out pockets where there are more trees, the depot will now be constructed only on 25 hectares of land compared to 30 hectares as planned earlier. While the Corporation is yet to assess the total number of trees which will be spared the axe because of the redesigning, officials are positive that it will be enough to serve as a green lung for the city.
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“In the new design, the areas with tree concentration will be left out. We cannot save all the trees but the trees in the five hectare area will continue to serve the city,” said SK Gupta, Director, Projects, MMRC.
Instead of the earlier plan to spread the buildings across 30 hectares, they will now construct multi-storey buildings that will reduce the total constructed area on the land. The stabling sheds will also be left open to sky to ensure maximum ground water percolation. Admitting the contribution of the activists in compelling them to redesign the car shed, Gupta said, “It is good to raise objections to projects. It is because of these objections that we created a more effective design. But now that we have done everything we could, they should stop the protests and allow the construction.”
“The completion of the metro line will de-congest the suburban railway line and reduce deaths due to overcrowding. On an average, 10 lives are lost daily in local trains. The citizens need to realise that for everyday that the project is delayed, 10 lives are being lost in the city. We need to ask ourselves the value of these lost lives,” he said.
However, activists who approached the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to prevent construction in Aarey are not satisfied with these designs and said that construction will not be allowed there. “We do not trust their designs any longer and know that all the trees in that land will eventually be killed. They only want to gain possession of the land and then sell it. But we will ensure that they have to go out of Aarey and their design skills will be best utilised for some other land in the city,” said Stalin D, Director, NGO Vanashakti.