Setback for Mumbai Metro car depot as Aarey Milk Colony declared 'Eco Sensitive Zone'

In what can be termed as a setback to the car depot plans of Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation at Aarey colony, an affidavit filed by Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) on Tuesday states that Aarey Milk Colony is covered under Eco Sensitive Zone.

As the ministry has considered 4 km buffer of Sanjay Gandhi National Park as ESA, Aarey Milk Colony has by default become a part of the sensitive zone which will now come under 'non construction' zone.

In August last year, mid-day had reported about the order in which the National Green Tribunal had directed the BMC not to give any nod for construction in Aarey Colony, which is an Eco-Sensitive Area. It had also directed the civic body to take immediate action if any illegal construction is found taking place.

MoEF on Tuesday submitted an affidavit before NGT on behalf of respondent no.1 in which it was stated that the affidavit is being filed in compliance of the NGT order dated January 13, 2015.

In the affidavit, ministry officials pointed out to the state government that entire Aarey colony forms part of the proposed ESZ around SGNP. Environmentalists and residents groups who have been fighting against the proposed Metro Car Depot at the colony welcomed the move.

NGO Vanashakti had approached NGT last year requesting Aarey should be declared as an ESA as it serves as a buffer zone to SGNP and is also the last surviving open space and green lung of Mumbai.

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