When there is hardly any space left to live in the city, finding some spare area to dump a lot of dirt can be said to be in the realm of hypothesis. But this is exactly the poser the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s (MMRDA) plan to construct the Metro line III underground all through its 34 km of length leaves it with.
Around 6 lakh cubic tonnes of soil is estimated to be excavated during the construction of the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz line, leading transport experts and environmentalists to ask where the planning authority will dump it all. Speaking to MiD DAY, transport expert Jitendra Gupta said, “Before starting the construction, MMRDA or the contractor will have to make sure that they prepare a strategy on how to dump the soil. There is no place in Mumbai where the soil can be dumped. MMRDA has an option of transporting the soil to Navi Mumbai where, with the proposed international airport coming up, it can be used for reclaiming marshy land.”
In a public hearing regarding Metro line III last week, most questions posed to the MMRDA had to do with the disposal of the soil so dug out. Sources in the authority told this paper that while appointing the contractor, MMRDA will make it clear that he should work out a plan for dumping the debris beforehand so there is no delay in the project.
“Approximately 6 lakh cubic tonnes of soil will be excavated while constructing the 34-km long line completely underground. Dumping the debris is always an issue in Mumbai because there is no place left. So we will make sure that we find a place when the construction starts,” said an MMRDA official requesting anonymity.
Speaking to MiD DAY, environmentalist and wildlife expert Krishna Tiwari said, “In the past, we have seen how mangroves in Mira Road and other parts of the city were destroyed because of illegal dumping of construction debris. So before starting the project, MMRDA should find an appropriate place to dump the huge amount of debris that will be unearthed. If it is illegally thrown somewhere then there will be an adverse effect on the environment as there is very little green cover left in and around our city.”
“After conducting a public hearing, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) has now invited reputed consultants for providing services as interim consultants. The services includes carrying out location survey, geotechnical investigations, preparation of tender designs documents and other ancillary activities,” said Dilip Kawatkar, joint project director, MMRDA. The prospective consultants are expected to be experienced in designing at least 5-km long tunnels, three underground stations and should have provided general/interim consultancy services for one 5-km underground metro section. The project is proposed to be implemented with loan assistance from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).