Mumbai: Metro authorities destroy mangroves at Juhu for construction of yard for Metro-2B line

Mumbai: Environmentalists have alleged that Metro authorities in the last two weeks have destroyed mangroves at Juhu-Koliwada, which is at the southern end of Juhu beach. And all this mindless destruction for building a casting yard for the Metro-2B (DN Nagar-Mandale) line.

This is being cited as yet another instance of the green cover being shorn for a development project. There was earlier a long drawn protest over the cutting of trees in Aarey, to make way for a car shed for the Metro-3 (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz) corridor. Zoru Bhatena, an activist who visited the site on Thursday, told the Free Press Journal that nearly 10 acres (four hectares) of Juhu beach area has allegedly been destroyed by either cutting down or burning mangroves for the proposed yard.

“Building a casting yard close to the sea itself is a senseless act. They will have to cement the entire area to make the yard and by the time the Metro is ready, people will forget that there was a beach area which was gobbled up by the Metro authorities. It is also a no-development zone,” said Zoru, adding, “I will also file a Right to Information (RTI) application to derive additional information.”

A casting yard is a confined place where all the concrete structures required for the metro project are assembled. In November 2017, the planning authority had appointed Simplex Infrastructures to construct 11 elevated stations for the 23.5 km-long Metro corridor. The total cost of constructing this corridor is put at Rs 1080 crore. The contractor for Metro-2B is building a casting yard at the site currently, officials confirmed.

Officials from the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) refuted the charges and  said that no mangroves were destroyed to clear the land for a casting yard. An official said, “The land in question has been in MMRDA’s possession for the last six years. MMRDA can allow it to be used for temporary purposes. Thus, it is being used as a casting yard.”

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