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Twenty mangroves delay Rs 8,000-crore metro project

This will come as surprise to you, but it’s true. Around 15-20 mangroves near the proposed Charkop metro car depot in Kandivli is one of the reasons for the delay of the Rs 8,250 crore and 32 km-long Charkop-Bandra Mankhurd (CBM) metro line two, which is a non-starter even after four years of the ground-breaking ceremony of the line was done at the hands of the then president Pratibha Patil.


Around 20 mangroves stand between the proposed Rs 8,250 crore Charkop metro car depot project. Pic/Nimesh Dave

Speaking to SUNDAY MiD DAY, a senior Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) official said, “At present, there are around 15-20 mangroves near the proposed metro car depot because of which the project is yet to get a final clearance from the Ministry Of Environment and Forest(MoEF).”

More than a week ago, Metropolitan Commissioner UPS Madan along with other MMRDA officials visited the proposed car depot site in Charkop. The MMRDA officials showed Madan the location and the mangroves because of which the Metro line two car depot is not getting the final clearance.

Madan told SMD, “We will follow up the matter with MoEF so that we get the clearance at the earliest.”A senior MMRDA official said, “There are very few mangroves near the land where we want to construct the car depot. I think that MoEF should immediately review the same and give the clearance to the project which is a non-starter even after four years of the contract being awarded.”

It should be noted that the planning authority has already received conditional clearances for establishing car depots at Mankhurd and Charkop from the environment ministry as it falls under Coastal Regulation Zone. However, the final clearance is pending. “It’s because of this delay in implementation, that the cost of the project, too, has escalated from its original estimate of Rs 8,250 crore. At present, it is over Rs 8,300 crore,” an official from MMRDA said.

According to the plans, the car depot was to be built on stilts to prevent the removal of the mangroves. Sources from MMRDA also said that MoEF has made it clear that maintenance, repair and washing of Metro rail rakes will not be permitted in this car depot.

To solve the problem of the maintenance of metro rakes in the car depot, a fresh proposal was sent by MMRDA to MoEF. In this proposal, it was stated that the MMRDA will construct the car depot in Charkop in such a way that the treated sewage water from the car depot will be released directly into the sea, so that it does not have a negative impact on the mangroves. MMRDA has also started looking out for alternate land for car depot at Goregaon and Charkop, but nothing seems to be working out.

Speaking to SMD, environmentalist Debi Goenka said, “I personally feel that the mangroves on the Charkop land might have been destroyed because of which there are very few mangroves left near the proposed Metro car depot site at Charkop. The government should first find out where the remaining mangroves plantation has gone and if at all, the mangroves were destroyed, then action should be taken against those responsible for the same.”

What MMTPL says
“The MMRDA is yet to fulfill the condition precedents as per the concession agreement such as providing unencumbered ROW and environmental clearance for depot land; without resolution of these issues project has become a non-starter. We have completed all the activity necessary for project take-off including the financial closure,” the official spokesperson of MMTPL (Mumbai Metro Transport Pvt Ltd) said.

Do you know?
While signing the concession agreement on October 21, 2010, the then Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan had said that Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd metro corridor will be ready by 2013.

About CBM Metro line two
The Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd Metro corridor is a R8,250 crore project and is being implemented on public-private partnership basis(PPP).
The 27 stations on this corridor include Charkop, Malad (Metro ), Kasturi Park, Bangur Nagar, Oshiwara, Samarth Nagar, Shashtri Nagar, D N Nagar, ESIC Nagar, JVPD, Juhu, Vile Parle (Metro), Nanavati Hospital, Arya Samaj Chowk, Khar (Metro), National College, Bandra (Metro), MMRDA, Income Tax Office, Bharat Nagar, Complex Road, Kurla (Metro), S G Barve Marg, R. C. Marg, Shivaji Chowk, BSNL, Mankhurd

Timeline
July 29, 2009: The financial bid, submitted by a consortium led by M/s Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, was approved on
August 26, 2009: The ground breaking ceremony of the CBM was done at the hands of President Prathiba Patil
2012: As the contractor did not start the work , MMRDA wrote a letter to the contractor to start work on the Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd (CBM) metro corridor at the earliest, or make their stand clear on the project
December 2012: MMRDA also wrote a letter to the state government asking for its opinion about what should be done as the contractor has yet not started the work

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