Mumbai: Aarey was not the only site under consideration for the Metro 3 car shed. At the detailed project report stage, Mahalaxmi Racecourse, MMRDA ground BKC and Kalina University were also evaluated.
In the technical committee stage, five more locations – Backbay Reclamation, Mumbai Port Trust, Dharavi, Sariput Nagar and Kanjurmarg were also considered.
All locations were examined on merit but were ruled out – either because of inadequate land area and poor technical suitability or environment, legal and regulatory constraints.
On the question of availability of adequate land, all the sites at intermediate locations were found to be not feasible.
Only the following sites at or beyond the terminal points of the corridor met the minimum sizing requirement and were further studied. These were: Backbay Reclamation, Colaba; Kanjurmarg and Aarey Colony.
Of the sites finalised for detailed consideration, Backbay Reclamation site was found out to have more environmental, social and administrative implications.
The large open tracts of land towards Bhandup at Kanjur Marg did not have a major tree cover and was considered to be a feasible option. But, the ownership of this land was in dispute with legal encumbrances. Such litigation and ownership issues needed to be resolved to develop the depot without undue delay.
However, the committee suggested that if a decision is taken to locate the depot at Kanjurmarg, Line 3 will have to be extended by at least 7.5 km with additional stations; this would entail additional fund requirements of approximately Rs. 1,700 crores. An option of a double decked depot in Aarey colony near the present location was also recommended.
This option reduced the land requirement to 20.82 hectares and the impact on trees was minimised to about 446 trees, if a full service depot was constructed.
There was an advantage in constructing a full depot at Aarey colony by double decking stabling facilities and with an elevated test track. But the double deck depot would have cost approximately Rs 750 crores.
After all these imponderables were taken into account, the authorities zeroed in on the Aarey Colony.