The Maharashtra government's decision to relocate the Aarey Metro car shed to Kanjurmarg in Mumbai is "unwise" and will adversely affect the Metro-3 project and the city's public transport, say urban planners and transport experts.
The decision to shift the car shed from Aarey Colony, Mumbai's green lung, will delay the project and increase its capital expenditure and operational cost, they say.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday announced the scrapping of the Aarey Metro car shed. He said the project will now be shifted to government land in Kanjurmarg and no cost will be incurred for the purpose.
Experts, however, say it is not the right time to shift the car shed to Kanjurmarg when the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro-3 project, that started in 2013, is near completion.
Mumbai-based transport expert Paresh Rawal termed it as an "unwise" decision.
"Alternate ways of mitigating the environmental impact should have been considered rather than alternate sites," Rawal told PTI, adding that it is a "big blow" to the city's public transportation.
He also said it will delay the Metro-3 project and increase its capital expenditure and operational cost.
The move to relocate the car shed from Aarey came amid reports that the state government was considering if two of the upcoming Metro lines could share maintenance facility.
It had appointed Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to prepare a feasibility study on Metro 3 (Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ) sharing its car shed with Line 6 (Vikhroli-Lokhandwala).
Rawal said the option of merger of the Metro-3 corridor with Metro-6 will reduce the line capacity of both, while building a parallel corridor till Kanjurmarg will increase the project cost.
Urban planner Sulakshana Mahajan said the Metro car shed should have been built at the existing site in Aarey Colony as already a lot of money has been spent on the work and a complete DPR (detailed project report) is ready for the site.
"Since the new proposed car shed site in Kanjurmarg is close to the coastline and marshy land, it may require environment clearances, which could further delay the project," she said.
Mahajan also said the state government should reveal details of the Kanjurmarg car shed land in a transparent manner as it was under litigation in the Bombay High Court.
Architect Nitin Killawala, however, welcomed the decision of relocating the Metro-3 car shed to Kanjurmarg, saying it will save 20 hectares of Aarey land.
He also suggested that the Metro-3 line be further diverted beyond SEEPZ to Kanjurmarg via Saki Vihar, Chandivali and Powai.
"Infrastructure projects like the Metro lines are planned for next 100 years, hence in such mega projects a delay of a few years won't make much difference," he said.