While Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has assured the leaders of the Parsi community that there will be no damage to their religious structures due to the construction of the Metro 3, the members of the community are still up in arms. On Friday, around 30 members of the community held a meeting at the Wadia Atash Behram in Girgaum to discuss the issue. The community has raised concerns that the underground tunnels will disturb the sanctity of their temples and may also disturb the water table drying up their wells. Well water is an important element used by the Parsis in their fire temples during worship.
On Thursday, Parsi priests Vada Dasturji Dr Firoze Kotawal and Vada Dasturji Khursheed Dastur met the CM and Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) officials to express their concerns over the underground tunnels passing close to two Parsi Atash Behrams in Girgaum and also Bhikha Behram well near Churchgate. “The CM assured us that the safety and sanctity of our temples will be maintained. We have also received a written response from the MMRC. We are satisfied by the response,” said Maneck Davar, a member of the community who was also present at the meeting.
In the letter written to the Parsi priests, MMRC writes, “…there is no possibility of drying up of these wells due to the metro construction. To keep a check on the water levels in the wells, we will monitor water levels in the vicinity by installing instruments.” It further mentions that the tunnel will not pass under the sanctum sanctorum.
Dr Firoze Kotawal was one of the first Parsi priests to write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, opposing the construction of the Metro tunnel under the religious structures. However, the community members are still not satisfied. “Nobody is talking about the spiritual sanctity. They are only speaking about the structural safety. The CM cannot speak about our spiritual matters as he is not aware about it. Our petition to the Prime Minister still stands and we are not backing out. We will continue to oppose the construction until they move the alignment away from our structures.”