Save Aarey: JICA says it is funding Mumbai Metro, not its car shed

In its March 10 reply to queries raised by environmentalist Rishi Aggarwal about the project’s negative impact on the biodiversity of Aarey Milk Colony, the Japanese firm said that while it is financing the project, the car depot is not a part of the funding

Save aarey  Following months of correspondence with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the international body funding the Metro Line III, Save Aarey Milk Colony (AMC) group member and environmentalist Rishi Aggarwal received a reply to a specific query he had sent pertaining to the project’s negative impact on the biodiversity at Aarey Milk Colony.

Terming the March 10 response as a calculated move to keep itself away from the ongoing controversy surrounding the construction of a car depot in the AMC, Aggarwal revealed JICA had stated that though it was financing the Metro project, its funding doesn’t include the car depot.

Aggarwal said, “I have heard that the JICA is a sensitive and pro-environment firm. But the reply they have sent regarding questions related to the car depot is shocking and insensitive. I personally feel that they are trying to protect their image from getting tarnished, as the car depot and the Metro Line III is facing flak from all quarters of the society.

The Aarey Colony
Locals and eco-warriors install a banner opposing the Metro car shed in Aarey Milk Colony. File pic

How can they say that they are financing only the project, but not the car shed? They must understand that a car depot is an integral part of every Metro line. Stating that the car shed isn’t part of the funding is not at all a satisfying answer.”

Expertspeak
Other environmentalists fighting to save the city’s last surviving green cover also believe that JICA’s reply is irresponsible and insensitive. They feel that the firm is sending out a wrong message.

Environmentalist Anand Pendharkar, from NGO SPROUTS, said, “Is JICA trying to say that while it is funding the project, the firm is least concerned about the car shed’s negative impact on biodiversity at AMC? We thought JICA is pro-environment. But its reply sends a negative message to the public.”

Excerpts from the JICA’s reply

POINT NO 2: After identifying the project from the request, it has been confirmed that JICA provides funding for the project. However, the facility (car shed) to which the Requester (Aggarwal) raises objection is not included in JICA’s financing (Local Currency Procurement Portion of the Project).

mid-day’s report on  December 6, 2014
mid-day’s report on December 6, 2014

POINT NO 7: The Requester has tried to engage in dialogue with the Project Proponent. However, the Requester complains that the Project Proponent (MMRC) is not showing good faith in communicating with the Requester.

In fact, several meetings and consultations have been held, and such communications among stakeholders are still ongoing, while they are awaiting the results of the discussion by Board of Tree Authority for tree felling in the area concerned.

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