Maharashtra to decide Mumbai Metro shed site by next week

Mumbai: The seven-member panel, set up by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to suggest alternative sites to Aarey Colony as a location for a car shed for Metro-III, is likely to give the government several options.

The substitute locations may include places in the island city as well as a couple of other spots in Aarey Colony itself. The panel may also suggest reclamation from the sea if none of the other options works out.

Fadnavis set up the panel in March after citizens protested against a proposal to construct the facility inside Aarey Colony. The panel is likely to submit its report to the CM next week after which a high-powered committee headed by chief secretary Swadhin Kshatriya will take the final call. The alternatives locations include Bandra-Kurla Complex, Kanjurmarg, Mumbai Port Trust land in Wadala and Mumbai University’s Kalina campus. “It may also include a couple of other spots within Aarey Colony. We have identified a couple of areas that may entail less damage to vegetation,” said a member of the panel.

Reports of the other possible options, too, have run into opposition. Backbay residents, for instance, said they would fight the move “tooth and nail”. “Anyway, they are using green areas in Cuffe Parade (Colaba woods) for construction purposes. A car shed, too, ending up in our backyard will destroy the area,” said Manjeet Kriplani, a Cuffe Parade Resident. ‘Save Aarey’ campaigners said they are opposed to construction in any part of the green patch. “We don’t want any part of the green zone to be used for any development,” a member said. Another alternative is reclaiming land from the sea. However, experts say the option is time-consuming and cumbersome as it will need several approvals from the environmental authorities, including the Union ministry of environment and forests. “Nothing has been finalized yet but we plan to submit our report to the CM during the next week,” said urban development secretary Nitin Kareer.