Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday indicated that the car-shed depot for phase III of the Mumbai Metro may come up at Aarey Colony, as the government was now to decide whether to allow felling of 350 trees there or to spend Rs 1,500 crore more to save the trees.
Fadnavis told reporters the government had received a new proposal from the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC), the executing agency, that the depot be constructed at Aarey.
Environmental organisations are opposed to it, as Aarey Colony in northern Mumbai has a considerable tree-cover. "We have received a fresh proposal whereby 300-350 trees need to be cut. These trees are not of rare species," Fadnavis said.
"Earlier more than 2,000 trees were to be cut, but now (as per the new proposal) only 350 trees are needed to be cut. So now we have to decide whether to spend Rs 1,500 crore to save these 350 trees (by choosing another site), or should we permit 350 trees to be cut," he added.
The government was examining the report and final decision was yet to be taken, the Chief Minister said.
"MMRC has said it favours Aarey because the alternative site at Kanjurmarg is stuck in litigation. Besides, that site is on a marshy land. Strengthening the land itself will take 18 months," he said.