Mumbai: Developer offered land for Metro car depot, but govt silent on it

Royal Palms (India) Pvt Ltd said the land has hardly any tree cover; It also wrote to the MMRDA and MMRC, but they also did not reply

While the state government and environmentalists groups are still debating over the issue of the proposed car depot for Metro line three at Aarey Milk Colony (AMC), a developer, Royal Palms (India) Private Limited, has offered land it owns, for the same. The developer has approached the state government saying it has a huge patch of land that is available 1 km from the proposed car depot plot, where the construction of the car depot can be done.

The letter sent by the developer to NGO Vanashakti suggesting the land for the car depot of Metro Line 3
The letter sent by the developer to NGO Vanashakti suggesting the land for the car depot of Metro Line 3

Last year the developer who owns the land adjacent to AMC had also written to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRC), and the Chief Minister’s office informing that the 30-60 acres of land that hardly has tree cover, can be used for construction of the car depot in larger public and environmental interest. However, there was no response to the proposal from the government’s side or from the other agencies.

Few days back, Royal Palms (India) Private Limited also sent a letter about the same to NGO Vanashakti which has taken up the Aarey car depot issue in the National Green Tribunal.

A copy of the letter that is in possession of mid day states, ‘We have read and seen your initiative (Save Aarey) for Metro III yard at Aarey Milk Colony to save the environment and trees. We also share your concern to save the trees and environment on Aarey land of government of Maharashtra. This letter is to bring to your notice that on July 17, 2015, we have given a proposal to the Government of MAharashtra, MMRDA and MMRC that we Royal Palms (India) Pvt Ltd are private land owners and our land is approximately one km further from the proposed yard at AMC and they are in a position to allot 30-60 acres of land for the Metro III Yard on the current scheme of MMRDA. This would be in line with your initiative of yard not coming on government land of AMC and instead of going to private land this would also save the cost of government land which would be approximately Rs 6,000 cr and above.’

It has also been stated in the letter that as per proposed DP 2015 the Royal Palms land is proposed as residential/commercial zone and existing land used currently is residential/IT/commercial/hotels etc.

‘Our land is free of tree cover and hence if utilised the damage to environment would be minimum. We look at you to take it across to the authorities as an available alternative so that the Metro III Yard and the project can see the light of the day. This scheme would be a win-win situation for the environment, the government of Maharashtra and also for the millions of commuters,’ the letter reads further.

Stalin Dayanand of Vanashakti, speaking about the plot suggested by the developer in the letter said it is a good option for the proposed plot. He said, “Locating the depot there will probably stem the rot. It can happen only if the developer fulfills all existing clearance requirements.” There is a hearing on the car depot issue at the NGT today.

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