Following strong opposition from environmentalists to the proposed felling of over 2,000 trees in the leafy Aarey Colony for a Metro carshed, an experts' committee has suggested that Kanjurmarg in north-east Mumbai be used as an alternative site for such a facility.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has accepted the report and will take the final decision in this regard, an official said this evening.
"Many organisations had demanded that the proposed carshed for Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro be shifted to avoid tree-felling on a large scale. The CM set up an experts' committee in March to look for an alternative," said the official in the chief minister's office.
The committee had as its members the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority Commissioner UPS Madan, municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta, Urban Development Principal Secretary Nitin Kareer, scientist Rakesh Kumar from National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation's SD Sharma and Dr Shyam Asolekar, professor at IIT-Bombay.
The committee examined various alternatives, including Backbay Reclamation, Mahalaxmi Race Course, a plot with Mumbai Port Trust, Bandra-Kurla Complex, the Mumbai University campus at Kalina and Dharavi before finally zeroing in on Kanjurmarg.
This would entail an additional expenditure of Rs 750 crore.
The committee has advised that the work on the Colaba-Seepz corridor and Jogeshwari-Kanjurmarg corridor should be carried out simultaneously if the carshed is to come up at Kanjurmarg.
It has also suggested that the work be done by Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC).
The other option suggested by the committee was for the building of a double-deck carshed in Aarey Colony itself with a changed lay-out so that only 446 trees would needed to be cut.
Among other suggestions put forward by the committee for saving the greenery in Aarey Colony was ground water charging, planting three trees for every tree that is cut, planting trees which grow more than 10 feet high, and roping in experts for the planting.