Even as citizens battle to save every inch of the green canopy of Aarey Milk Colony, the Metro authorities want to gobble up even more of it. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has now made a new demand for four acres of prime green land adjacent to the Western Express Highway, where the agency wants to set up its Metro Bhavan.
Confirming the development, Aarey Milk Colony CEO Nathu Rathod said, “Around five or six days ago, we received a copy of the letter that was sent by MMRDA to the Dairy Development Department, demanding that they need four acres to set up Metro Bhavan.”
Fight for Aarey
The Metro authorities are already locked in battle with green activists because of their demand for 30 hectares of land in Aarey, to build the proposed card depot for Metro Line II (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz corridor). In addition, MMRDA also wants land near the WEH to set up a labour camp and casting yard for the Dahisar-Andheri Metro line, for which work is in progress on the highway.
While this will only need the land on a temporary basis, the request for the four acres to build the Metro Bhavan is permanent.
Repeated attempts to contact Additional Metropolitan Commissioner Praveen Darade were met with no response.
Sources from the MMRDA who did not wished to be named said that the four-acre land is adjacent to a fuel station on WEH, where MMRDA wants to set up the Bhavan with an integrated operations and control centre.
“We need the land for setting up the Metro Bhavan on permanent basis and a letter has been already sent to the Dairy Development Department and Urban Development Department,” said an MMRDA official.
“The demand for more land in Aarey proves the motive of MMRDA and the government. We will continue our fight to protect the green space,” said environmentalist Stalin D.
Wildlife researcher and photographer Rajesh Sanap said, “It is really sad that the government is ignoring the importance of Aarey Colony, which not only acts as the green lung of the city, but is also an important recreational space for citizens who come here on daily basis to witness the rich biodiversity of the area.”