Firmly cementing the decision to build Metro-3 car shed at Aarey Colony, the new state government informed the Bombay High Court on Tuesday that it has withdrawn the order of the suburban district collector transferring 102-acre plot of Kanjurmarg salt pan land to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for the Metro project. The order dated October 1, 2020 was withdrawn at a war room meeting on August 29.
In October 2020, the erstwhile Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government led by Uddhav Thackeray had scrapped the construction of car shed for Metro Line 3 at Aarey, a part of which was declared as ‘forest’, with the intention to build an integrated facility at the Kanjurmarg site.
The move was challenged by the Centre, which was locked in a dispute with the MVA over the previous BJP government’s decision of building the car shed at Aarey. The Centre had claimed that the entire salt pan land in the area, including the 102-acre plot allotted to MMRDA, belonged to the central salt department. One Mahesh Garodia, too, had challenged the order claiming ownership of the land. On December 16, 2020, the HC had granted an interim stay on the suburban collector’s order.
During the hearing on Tuesday, the HC disposed of the Centre’s plea and said that Garodia’s plea will be placed before a single-judge bench for deciding the issue of the plot’s ownership.
The court said, “In view of the withdrawal of the impugned order of October 1, 2020, nothing survives in the petition (of the Centre). If any action was taken by the MMRDA pursuant to the order, then it shall forthwith hand back possession of the land.”
MMRDA’s advocate Saket Mone told the court that no construction work was carried out as there was an interim stay.