FPJ Exclusive: Centre denies RCF land to MMRDA for Metro carshed

Mumbai: The central government has denied to transfer Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers Ltd (RCF) land in Chembur for Metro-4 (Wadala-Thane-Kasarvadavli) carshed.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), which is undertaking this metro corridor, had sent letters to the union minister of chemicals and fertilisers for the transfer of 23 acres of RCF land for the construction of the Metro-4 carshed. However, in its recent reply on February 27 to MMRDA, the central government has refused to transfer the land on two grounds.

First, the RCF land is not vacant or surplus. In fact, they have mentioned that the plot of land is being used for storage of by-products like gypsum, chalk and other items. Second, there are two ammonia storage tanks with a capacity of 10,000 Million Tonne (MT) and therefore, the RCF has to maintain a safe distance from the place as a precautionary measure. A copy of the reply sent by the union ministry to MMRDA is in possession of The Free Press Journal.

Initially, MMRDA had five land options for the Metro-4 carshed. They were Godrej owned land in Vikhroli, RCF land at Chembur, Govt-owned saltpan land in Kanjurmarg, Thane, and a private land in Owale, Thane. An MMRDA official stated, “Since the Vikroli and Kanjurmarg lands are in dispute, we were keen on the RCF land to construct the Metro carshed.

But now as they have refused, we are planning to construct our depot at Mongur in Thane. This land is owned by the government as compared to Owale land which is owned by a private party. If MMRDA acquires Owale land owned by a private party, it will have to pay a hefty compensation.”

The officer further informed that the only hurdle in acquiring Mongur land is that despite it is owned by the government, a part of the land has been leased out for farming long back. But currently, the entire land has encroached for farming activities. The authority will now have to demarcate the actual land given for farming and the remaining land can be used for construction of the depot.

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