The opening of the first phase of Mumbai Metro Line 3, connecting Aarey and Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), seems imminent, with the car shed construction at Aarey nearing completion, 95 per cent of the work is already finished.
The 25-acre car shed at Aarey would serve as the base for maintaining metro coaches for Mumbai Metro Line 3. The main depot will have the capacity to stable 30 rakes of eight cars.
Estimated to cost Rs 328 crore, the depot has tabling lines, a workshop and maintenance building, an operational control centre (OCC), an access control building, an auxiliary substation building, an underground water tank, among others.
It may be recalled that the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC), overseeing the execution of Mumbai Metro Line 3, also known as Aqua Line, had originally intended to launch Phase 1 operations by December 2023. However, the deadline for the commencement of the first phase was extended to April 2024 due to the delayed completion of the car shed construction.
Aarey’s main monitoring centre along with the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) backup control centre (BCC) will manage BKC-Aarey Phase 1 operations.
Stretched over 1,800 acres of forest land in the northern suburb of Goregaon, Aarey is located near the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) and hosts a rich biodiversity.
Work on the contested depot in Aarey began in 2015, but was halted in October 2019 by the Supreme Court. This came on a petition which challenged the decision of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)'s Tree Authority to allow the cutting of trees in Aarey for the project.
At that time approximately 30 per cent work had been completed on the project.
Around a month later, the new government in the state, headed by Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray, announced the scrapping of the construction of the Metro car shed at Aarey and moved it to the 102-acre Kanjurmarg plot.
The situation, however, changed with the change in guard at the top, in June 2022. The project was moved back to Aarey from Kanjurmarg, which was later cleared by the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court on 29 November 2022 modified its status quo order on felling trees in the Aarey Colony, allowing the MMRC to approach the authorities to cut 84 trees for the project.
First Underground Corridor
The 33.5-km long Metro-3 running along Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ is the first underground metro corridor of Mumbai. It will connect the Cuffe Parade business district in the extreme south of the city to SEEPZ in the north-central area with 26 underground and one at-grade station.
With an estimated project cost of Rs 33,000 crore, the project has received funding from several entities, including Japan's technical and lending agency, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
MMRC has further announced that the BKC-Colaba Phase II stretch is set to open in June-July.
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