There’s both good and bad news for 2 of the new metro lines that Mumbai and its suburbs desperately need.
First the bad news. The issue over the Aarey Milk Colony location of the car depot for Line 3 or Metro III (as the govt. chooses to call it) has still not been resolved. A couple of months ago, the CM of Maharashtra had asked for a detailed report on the depot after activists and citizens carried out sustained protests against the project’s environmental cost. Environmentalists have warned that if the authorities insist on building the Metro yard in Aarey itself, they will carry out even bigger agitations. The activists would prefer to have the depot along the JVLR where many slums have proliferated and setting up the depot there will not affect a single tree.
Location of the proposed depot at Aarey Milk Colony
As per different sources, a report has been prepared and an unofficial version was sent to the CM, but the final version is yet to be made public as the government is still hoping to reach a compromise with activists through which the depot can be constructed on its original planned location.
While there has been no breakthrough on this issue, I’ll keep a tab on it and update when necessary.
Now for the good news.
While Line 2 or Metro II (as the govt. chooses to call it) has been in the works since 2005 and even got awarded to a consortium led by Reliance, it got stuck in the environmental clearance process due to protests by activists as its depots at Charkop and Mankhurd were marked on Mangrove land. Now the state government has decided to shift the site of the depot in Charkop to Malwani in Malad.
The new 48 acre site for the depot can be accessed via the Malad-Marve road and is run by the Manjara Charitable Trust that was setup by Vilasrao Deshmukh.
The state government recently issued a notification to the Revenue Dept to explore the option of taking back the land at this site since the land was reserved in the 1991 Development Plan for a recreation ground, government staff quarters government offices and…of course clearly not a metro depot! The new reservation calls for a metro car depot where the metro rakes will be housed for cleaning & maintenance purposes. Commercial activity will also be explored.
This is definitely a step in the right direction for this line which is now slated to built underground and not elevated as previously envisaged.