March 20, 2016 12:52:42 am
WITH VOICES within the government advocating for the Metro III carshed to come up at Aarey colony, citizens’ groups have intensified their efforts to save the city’s last remaining green lung. Calling it ‘land grab’, the Aarey Conservation Group has claimed that the MMRCL has been giving misleading information about alternative plots available to construct the carshed.
The group members said that MMRCL has been deliberately overlooking alternative plots in a bid to open up Aarey to real estate. “The Detailed Project Report prepared by MMRCL had other plots in consideration including BKC, which is only 500 metres away from the route. Instead, they have chosen to have a carshed at Aarey colony, which is 1.2km away from the last station. The claim that other plots are not feasible are cloaked in untruths. Eleven plots selected in Kanjurmarg are claimed to be locked in litigation but, in reality, only five plots are under litigation. The Kalina plot too has been lying vacant for 20 years and there has been no serious effort to pursue other plots” said D Stalin of NGO Vanashakti. The group also claimed that MMRCL has manipulated plot sizes by showing the desired plot size in Aarey as much larger than its actual size.
The group also claimed that in its Environment Impact Assessment Report, MMRCL has claimed that there is no wildlife in Aarey while camera traps by the forest department show the existence of nine leopards in the area. “The expert committee, appointed by the CM in March 2015, comprised of three bureaucrats and two environment experts. These experts have filed a dissent note. Aarey is also the catchment area of the Mithi river. Experts warn of flooding if any construction is done,” Stalin added.“The authorities say they need the plot for 15 years after which the carshed will be shifted to a larger depot. How will a forest which has been cut be replaced?” asked Priya Mishra, group member.
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The group plans to protest to ensure that authorities give their advocacy for the use of Aarey plot a rethink. It had aso sent objection letters to the MoEF. Both union minister of environment and forests, Prakash Javadekar and CM Devendra Fadnavis have indicated that the carshed may be located at Aarey.
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