MMRDA changes car depot plan to save cash
Authority decides to build facility on the surface at Aarey Colony, altering its previous plan of building it underground at Mahalaxmi racecourse; environmentalists say this will adversely affect the delicate ecosystem of the new site
Despite the annoyance of ecologists, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has decided it won’t dig too deep for its planned car depot for the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz (CBS) metro corridor. So, while previously the agency intended to develop the facility underground at the Mahalaxmi racecourse, it has now decided to construct the car depot on the surface at Aarey Milk Colony. Cost is said to be the overriding factor.
Commenting on the issue, a senior MMRDA official said, “We have already selected the location in Aarey Milk Colony for the line-3 car depot and will not look for an alternate site.
The benefit of assembling a car depot on land is that the construction cost is far less compared to that of an underground facility.” But MMRDA’s change of heart has not gone down well with environmentalists, who feel construction at the chosen location would disrupt the fragile ecosystem of Aarey Colony. Similar concerns have been expressed in the past.
MiD DAY had reported on March 22 (‘Metro III car depot poses threat to wildlife: experts’) about objections raised by ecologists and wildlife experts to MMRDA’s plan of shifting the car depot to Aarey Colony, and how the project would negatively impact the flora and fauna and biodiversity in the area.
“No one is against development, but any development that will have a negative impact on the rich biodiversity of Aarey Colony is of no use. I personally feel that rather than setting up the car depot here, MMRDA should build it at the Mahalaxmi racecourse,” wildlife expert Krishna Tiwari said.
Facts of the matter
>> Spread across 12 sq km, Aarey Milk Colony is adjacent to Sanjay Gandhi National Park
>> A biodiversity study of the area done by Rajesh Sanap and Zeeshan Mirza revealed that the region supported 76 different species of birds, 86 species of butterflies, 13 species of amphibians, 38 species of reptiles, 19 species of spiders and 34 varieties of wild flowers
>> Moreover, mammalian species like leopards, spotted deer, rusty-spotted cat, jungle cat, civet, sambar deer and barking deer reside in the vicinity