Mumbai: Plans for Metro Bhavan in Aarey colony to take concrete shape

Mumbai: Even as environmentalists continue to oppose the Metro 3 (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz) car shed at Aarey Colony, yet another ‘concrete’ proposal is due to take shape in the area, one of the city’s last remaining green lungs. This time the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has floated tenders for the construction of the Metro Bhavan at Aarey.

Activists have criticised the Maharashtra government for continuing to endanger fauna and flora at Aarey by approving commercial development for profit. Interestingly, this project is just 100 metres away from the Western Express Highway (WEH), where already a number of commercial establishments are located.

Zoru Bhathena, an activist and petitioner opposing the car shed in Aarey said, “We maintain our stand that the car shed was just a gateway to bring other development projects into Aarey. After this project, every proposal has been cleared and we will continue to oppose this. Infrastructure development cannot be carried out at the cost of endangering the environment.”

According to the plan, the Metro Bhavan will be built on a plot measuring around 8,000 square metres and will be a 32-storeyed building. It will be the headquarters where a control room will be set up to monitor operations of around 200 kilometres of the metro network built in the MMR.

Since it expects the two Metro lines 2A and 7 (Dahisar to DN Nagar and Andheri (E) to Dahisar (E) respectively) to be ready by 2019, they believe the headquarters will help them keep a watch on the newly built transport network. Besides this, the Metro Bhavan will house a training academy on the lines of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited, staff quarters. Moreover, it will also have commercial space available for lease.

The MMRDA officials said that land had already been demarcated for the construction of the Metro Bhavan. But additional land is required, which may necessitate the razing of a gymnasium constructed by State minister Ravindra Waikar, using his Member of Legislative Assembly funds, as also, the acquisition of some land of the adjoining burial ground, which is in litigation.

For the construction of the proposed Metro Bhavan, the government has given a floor space index (FSI) of four. The last date for bidders to submit their plans is March 15. On March 18 the work will be awarded to the contractor, as per the tender document.

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