Mumbai: Following mid-day's report illegal Metro IIB project contractor disappears
The Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA)-appointed contractor has mysteriously stopped the work there. Since the last couple of weeks
Since the last couple of weeks, no further activity has happened on the site. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Over a month after mid-day reported about the allegedly illegal destruction of mangroves in Juhu-Koliwada for the Metro IIB (DN Nagar to Mankhurd-Mandala) line, the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA)-appointed contractor has mysteriously stopped the work there. Since the last couple of weeks, no further activity has happened on the site. The contractor had begun clearing up the patch for preparing a casting yard for the Metro line in January.
Back in February, activists had alleged that the MMRDA-appointed contractors had destroyed the mangroves while preparing the site, which is also marked as a NDZ (No Development Zone) in BMC's Development Plan (DP) 1991. mid-day reported the same in 'After trees, Metro now gobbling up mangroves'.
However, according to sources, the work was stopped because the land has not yet been transferred from the suburban collector to MMRDA. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Activist Zoru Bhathena said, "After the news was published, I found that the work on the Juhu-Koliwada site has been stopped since the last couple of weeks. I inquired with the watchman and he confirmed that the work for the casting yard has stopped, but he did not know the reason." Bhathena had previously alleged the contractor had cleared the green patch, spread in about 10 acres, on the Juhu-Koliwada beach.
However, according to sources, the work was stopped because the land has not yet been transferred from the suburban collector to MMRDA, which is executing proposed the 23.5 km long Metro II B line.
Seemingly because of this, the planning body has not responded to Bhathena's Right to Information (RTI) application that asked for details of permissions secured for carrying out the work. In a reply to his application on February 26, MMRDA accepted that they had awarded the contract to Simplex Infrastructure Ltd for setting up a casting yard at the site, but in response to the permissions query, it said that his application has been forwarded to its Land Cell and Town Planning department.
Weeks since that response, MMRDA is yet to revert with details about the permits. Bhathena said, "Today [Tuesday] I went to follow up my application and they only gave me the plan of the proposed casting yard, which shows that it is spread across 65,000 square meters. I am yet to get any written details about whether the land was transferred from suburban collector to MMRDA."
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