Now, parishioners worried Metro III may harm St Teresa's Church in Girgaum

Updated: Nov 25, 2017, 18:32 IST | Gaurav Sarkar

While Parsis are worried about damage to the Wadia fire temple, parishioners are wary that Metro III tunnel might go under St Teresa's Church in Girgaum

The Metro III construction work is not done attracting the wrath of communities. After severe and ongoing flak from the Parsi community, the tunnelling work on Jagannath Sunkersett Road, which might also go under St Teresa's Church, has now become a cause for concern for the Catholic community too. Tomorrow evening, members of both communities will gather at the St Teresa's High School to discuss the issue.

The tunnelling work might go under St Teresa's Church too. File pic
The tunnelling work might go under St Teresa's Church too. File pic

But the church will not take up any protests till all the facts are on the table. Speaking to mid-day, father Anthony Fernandes, parish priest at St Teresa's Church, said, "There is a lot of confusion about whether the tunnel is going to go from under the church."

No joint protest yet
According to him, this meeting is not being held especially to discuss the realignment issue. "We anyway had a prayer meeting scheduled on Sunday, and since some community members were worried about this issue and wanted to know what exactly is going on, I suggested that after the meeting, those who wanted more information should meet with our Parsi brothers and hear what they have to say," he added.

Father Anthony Fernandes and Jamshed Sukhadwalla
Father Anthony Fernandes and Jamshed Sukhadwalla

At the same time, Fernandes made it clear that this meeting was in no way to be interpreted as a coming together of both the communities to fight against Metro III - not yet anyway. "I have filed an RTI application to find out if the tunnel will indeed go from under the church and I'm waiting for the response before doing anything else."

"As of how it stands right now, this is not a joint thing. Our Parsi friends will enlighten us as to what they have been doing till now, but we will be convinced of the tunnel going from under the church only after seeing concrete proof of the same," said Fernandes.

He also said no decision would be taken without first consulting with the Bishop House. "In case, it [tunnel] is going under the church, I will approach the Bishop House and find out what kind of protest to have." He added that if the authority and office of the bishop could handle the matter, then there would be no need to organise a ground-level protest, in case their worst fears came true.

More harm than good
Structural engineer Jamshed Sukhadwalla, who has been spearheading the battle against the underground tunnel since the beginning, said he had met with Father Fernandes eight to 10 days back to discuss the issue.

"When the realignment issue first came up, I was more concerned about the fire temple," he said. But according to him, the underground tunnel will pass from under St Teresa's Church.

"The Metro III is doing more harm than good; how can there be construction work when more than 25 per cent of the buildings on that stretch are in the 'severe' and 'very severe' categories?" That question along with the confusion over the tunnel under the church remains to be answered.

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