Mumbai: Mumbai Port Trust comes up with novel solution to deal with Metro III debris

Updated: Jul 22, 2018, 10:27 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

As the Metro authorities spend precious time and money transporting tonnes of construction waste outside city limits, Mumbai Port Trust hits upon a win-win solution to use the debris for its own project

Jawahar Dweep or Butcher Island is used as an oil terminal where oil tankers are offloaded. File Pic
Jawahar Dweep or Butcher Island is used as an oil terminal where oil tankers are offloaded. File Pic

The Metro authorities need to get rid of their construction debris, while the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) want it for themselves. Now, the port authorities have proposed the perfect solution, so everyone gets what they want. Tonnes of debris from the underground Metro III project are currently being ferried all the way out of the city at great expense, but could soon form the foundation of MbPT's fifth oil berth at Jawahar Dweep or Butcher Island.

The debris from Metro III (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz) is currently ferried as far as 50 km away and dumped in abandoned quarries at Raigad and Thane. According to the MbPT's proposal, this distance could come down to just 10 km, if the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) were to transport the waste by sea to Butcher Island, where the Port authorities are building a new oil berth and storage unit.

Illustration/Uday Mohite
Illustration/Uday Mohite

"At all the Metro station locations, good rock material is being excavated and there is no dumping place for this material in the vicinity. It is transported out of the city by truck, for more than 50 km. This not only congests the city roads, but also hampers the progress of work. It would be environment-friendly if the same material is transported through sea by barges and used for reclamation at Jawahar Dweep," states the MbPT's proposal to the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF).

Jawahar Dweep or Butcher's Island is used as an oil terminal where oil tankers are offloaded. The MbPT is building a fifth oil berth for the ships there, as well as a new storage unit. To complete the project, they require around 8 lakh cubic metres of sturdy rock material. Luckily enough, as per the MMRC's Impact Assessment (EIA) report, the underground Metro III's construction will generate 5.4 lakh cubic metres of top quality debris.

The new oil berth is being built to cater to Suez Max size vessels, with parcel size of 1.5 lakh metric tonnes (MT). The new storage facility will have a capacity of 3 lakh MT. The fifth oil berth's construction was approved by the government in 2016, but the Port Trust's debris sharing proposal was only discussed recently, during the 32nd meeting of the Experts Appraisal Committee (Infra-2) of the MoEF this month.

"Instead of dredged rock material, as proposed earlier, it is now proposed to utilise the excavated material generated from Mumbai Metro rail project," state the minutes of the meeting. "The debris will be placed on the wharf of the waterfront and will then be shifted to the reclamation area through barges. The average distance will be drastically reduced to 10 km. This will also expedite the Metro project."

MbPT says
Sanjay Bhatia, MbPT chairman, said, "We have made an application before the Experts Appraisal Commitee of the MoEF, requesting that they allow us to use the good rock material being excavated at the Metro site. We will use the rock for the fifth oil berth we are constructing at Jawahar Dweep."

Points of concern
The MoEF has asked the MbPT to conduct a study and submit the impact of this proposal on:
* Marine ecology and biodiversity
* Movement of traffic
* Air quality

Also read: Mumbai: Metro III debris being dumped at eco-sensitive stretch in Anik

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