for long the railways have allegedly been a thorn in the side for the state government, by delaying granting necessary permissions for implementing developmental projects traversing over railway tracks. But, in a recent development, Central Railway authorities have rather swiftly given an in-principle approval to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for constructing the second phase of the metro line of Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd above the railway lines at two locations.
“We have given an in-principle approval to MMRDA for constructing the metro rail above the tracks at Kurla and Mankhurd,” said a senior CR official, on condition of anonymity. MMRDA has to now only submit the detailed drawing on their alignment over the rail tracks, whenever they propose to begin work. However, even though MMRDA has received a go ahead from the Central Railway (CR), they are still in a limbo.
“We have received permissions from Central Railway. However we have yet to get a CRZ clearance,” said Rahul Asthana, MMRDA commissioner. Although the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) have given an in-principle approval, the MMRDA needs to get CRZ clearance for constructing the 19.6-hectare car shed where the rakes operating need to be parked and maintained.
The car shed is proposed to come up at Charkop, which is surrounded by mangroves.28 conditions have been kept by the environment ministry, one of them regarding non-maintenance of metro rakes at the car shed. “This condition will defeat the whole purpose of having a car shed. So we have asked them to relax the norms a bit,” said another MMRDA official, on condition of anonymity.
According to MMRDA officials, this condition wouldn’t allow them to carry out any repair or maintenance work at the car shed, which otherwise is the basic purpose, apart from parking rakes. Sources also added that unless the car shed gets proper clearances, MMRDA wouldn’t be able to do much with the CR go-ahead.