Mumbai: MMRC awards Aarey shed contract, despite NGT ban

Jun 30, 2017, 14:54 IST | A Correspondent

Activists opposed the depot saying it will take a toll on Aarey’s biodiversity. FILE PIC
Activists opposed the depot saying it will take a toll on Aarey's biodiversity. FILE PIC

It seems the Metro authorities know something the rest of the city doesn't. It's common knowledge that no construction is permitted in the Aarey Colony forests unless the National Green Tribunal (NGT) lifts its ban. However, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) on Thursday announced that it had already awarded the contract for the construction of the Metro 3 car depot in Aarey, and that work would begin post monsoon.

The authorities also said that in order to save trees, they have prepared a revised design of the car depot, which will help save 1,073 trees. However, as many as 3,130 trees will be affected — some will be axed, while others will be transplanted. The authorities could not confirm the exact number of the trees that will be axed. It is worth noting that this tree toll is still higher than the original figure of 2,294 trees quoted by the MMRC.

Also read - Mumbai Metro III: Car depot at Aarey Milk Colony to be elevated over flood fears

This heavy toll on trees and the biodiversity in the green pocket of Aarey is why activists had moved the NGT against the car depot plans.

In the interim, the NGT issued an order to maintain the status quo in Aarey and forbade any construction activity there.

Director (projects) and acting managing director, MMRC, SK Gupta said, "We are pleased to award the civil work contract for Aarey car depot construction. The contractor is mobilizing the equipments and workforce, and civil work is expected to commence soon."

Also read - Save Aarey: SC gives nod to cut trees along Mumbai Metro line

An official from MMRC told this paper that by the monsoon-end, the final orders are also expected in the NGT trial. "We are positive and we think that the NGT orders will be in our favour, as the project is in the larger interest of the public."

In a press conference at the old MMRDA administration building in BKC, the Metro authorities announced that they have awarded the final civil works contract to Delhi-based construction company, M/s Sam (India) Builtwell Pvt Ltd, which has also worked on such depots for the Delhi and Lucknow Metros.

The tenders for the construction of the car depot, metro station, workshop buildings and vehicular underpass along the Marol–Maroshi Road and allied works was invited in January 2017. The cost of the awarded work is Rs 328 crore and civil work is expected to be completed in 2.5 years of commencement.

MMRC officials also said they are taking special measures to make the car depot as environment friendly as possible, with solar-powered lighting. 70 per cent of the depot floor space will not be paved, so that rainwater can seep into the ground and help maintain the groundwater level.

3,130 No. of trees that will be affected by the car depot construction

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