The Supreme Court of India has permitted the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRCL) to pursue its application before the Tree Authority to cut 84 trees at Aarey forest for the metro car shed project.
A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha, after hearing to submissions by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Mumbai Metro, that the felling of 84 trees were needed for constructing ramps for the trains at the car shed, permitted MMRCL to pursue its application with the Tree Authority.
The Court also said that the tree authority will be at liberty to take an appropriate decision on the MMRCL's application by imposing suitable conditions.
The Court observed that Maharashtra Government's fresh decision to restore the location of the car shed at Aarey, after changing its earlier decision to relocate the same to Kanjurmarg, was based on relevant considerations and "it would be impossible for this Court to stay the decision at the interim stage?
The court order is set to pave way for the commissioning of phase 1 of Mumbai Metro Line-3 and the car shed in Aarey forest by next year.
MMRCL announced that the first phase of the Mumbai Metro Line-3 between Aarey Milk Colony and Bandra-Kurla Complex would be functional by December 2023.
Days after it assumed office, the new alliance government of BJP and breakaway Shiv Sena announced lifting of the stay on the construction of Metro-3 car shed in the Aarey Colony in suburban Goregaon, reversing a decision taken by the previous Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, on becoming chief minister in November 2019, had ordered a stay on the car shed construction in the Aarey Colony, and announced that the metro shed will come up at Kanjurmag. Uddhav Thackeray also had directed the police to withdraw all cases filed against Aarey protestors. Uddhav Thackeray government had also declared Aarey as a reserved forest.
The Shiv Sena and particularly Aditya Thackeray, who has positioned himself as 'environmental crusader', were opposed the Aarey car shed project and demanded relocation of the depot at a site in the eastern suburb of Kanjurmarg, whose ownership was later claimed by a private party as well as the salt commissioner of India.
In October 2019, the Bombay High Court had dismissed all petitions against the proposed cutting down of over 2,500 trees in Aarey Colony of Mumbai to make way for a Metro car shed.
Mumbai Metro Metro Line-3
Metro Line-3 is a 33.5 km-long underground corridor running along Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ. The length of the corridor is marked with 27 key stations, out of which 26 will be underground.
Metro Line-3 would connect Mumbai’s key financial hubs, such as Nariman Point, Bandra-Kurla-Complex, Fort, Worli, Lower Parel, Goregaon, etc.
The metro will provide, for the first time, connectivity to the airport, Nariman Point, Cuffe Parade, Kalbadevi, Worli, BKC, Airport, SEEPZ and MIDC.
Besides, two crucial heritage stations in Mumbai — CSTM and Churchgate — will also be connected through the alignment.
The metro trains will run on a 25 KV AC traction supply and have a maximum passenger carrying capacity of 2,350.
The trial run of the prototype rake for Metro 3 (Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ section) began on 30 August on a 3 km stretch between Sariput Nagar and Marol Naka Metro Station.
About 17 tunnel boring machines (TBMs) worked simultaneously for the first time on an underground metro project when the tunnelling began in November 2017.
The project is estimated to have a total cost of about Rs 38,000 crore. Of the total project cost, 50 per cent is being funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency as a soft loan and 20 per cent by the Union government.
Originally, the line's construction was scheduled to be completed in 2021. However, work delays caused the deadline to be missed, and the project cost increased from Rs 23,136 crore to Rs 38,000 crore.
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