Mumbai: Legal battles, hike in project cost and stiff opposition from environmentalists were unwanted stoppages of the Mumbai Metro 3 Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ corridor.
The project was marred by four-year delay, which ballooned the cost by several crore rupees. Unexpected heavy legal expenditure further outweighed the estimated cost.
Proposed car depot at Aarey Milk Colony
One of the prime reasons behind the delay in completing the 33.5-km-long project was the car depot proposed at the Aarey Milk Colony. The site became a bone of contention between environmentalists and powers that be. Centered around several protests, the issue even reached the Supreme Court.
Reply to the Right to Information (RTI) query filed with the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) has revealed that the implementing agency has, so far, spent ₹3.81 crore in litigation-related costs to contest the legal suit at various courts. The amount was spent over a period of seven years.
“The highest amount has been given to former Advocate General of Maharashtra Ashutosh Kumbakoni,” said Anil Galgali, the RTI applicant.
In 7 years from December 30, 2015 to January 9, 2023, the MMRCL spent ₹3,81,92,613 on court fees and related expenditures. A break of cost showed that the then Advocate General of Maharashtra Ashutosh Kumbhakoni was paid ₹1.13 crore, Advocate Aspi Chinoy ₹83.19 lakh, Advocate Kiran Bhaglia ₹77.33 lakh, Advocate Tushar Mehta ₹26.40 lakh and Advocate Maninder Singh ₹21.23 lakh.
Those who charged in single digits were Advocate Rukmini Bobde (₹7 lakh), Advocate Chitale (₹6.99 lakh), Advocate Shardul Singh (₹5.81 lakh), Advocate Atul Chitale (₹3.30 lakh) and Advocate GW Mattos (₹1.77 lakh).
The RTI query was filed in November 2022, which was followed by an appeal in January, said Galgali, adding that the authorities refused to share the information.
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