Mumbai: MMRC starts work in Aarey despite NGT ban
An activist spotted a JCB earthmover in operation at the Metro 3 car depot site in Aarey on Friday afternoon
Aarey Colony remains a 'no construction' area under the National Green Tribunal's (NGT) orders, but the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) has already starting work on the site for the Metro 3 car shed.
An activist from the Aarey Conservation Group (ACG) spotted a JCB earthmover in operation at the site on Friday afternoon. "I was shocked to see that the JCB was active at the proposed Metro 3 car depot plot in Aarey, so I immediately clicked a few pictures."
The pictures were circulated among locals and green warriors, after which 10-15 party workers from MNS and Shiv Sena arrived at the scene and put an end to the work.
MNS leader Ashish Patil alleged, "Our party workers stopped the work. The contractor appointed by MMRC cannot carry out any work, as even BMC corporators have voted against the car depot during the city's Development Plan meeting that took place a few days ago. Also, the NGT order clearly states that status quo should be maintained in Aarey while the court is hearing the matter."
Sena shakhapramukh Sandeep Gadhave Patil added, "We saw the JCB making a trench at the site. When we questioned people at the site, they told us that it was the MMRC-appointed contractor who was doing the work. We immediately told them to stop." Both parties also informed the Aarey police about the same, while ACG activist Biju Augustine wrote to the suburban Mumbai collector about the issue. "Despite NGT orders, the MMRC contractor started work on the land. MMRC has no permission to do any work on the ground as the matter is sub-judice before the NGT. Also, permissions from the pollution control board and from BMC are yet to be taken."
A spokesperson from MMRC said, "MMRCL conducts its activities in conformity with appropriate legal framework. State has handed over this land for car depot. Metro 3 project is being implemented under the Metro Act. MMRC is empowered to take up necessary construction activities for Metro project. Currently, preparatory activities pertaining to utility shifting, which are permitted within DCR framework, are being undertaken."
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