Panel suggests lifting stay on Aarey's metro car shed; decision not binding on govt, says Aaditya Thackeray

Mumbai: Minister of Tourism and Environment Aaditya Thackeray on Wednesday said that the report submitted by a four-member committee on metro car shed in Aarey Colony is not binding on the state government. Thackeray was responding to a media report on the committee's recommendation that it will not be viable to shift the metro car shed from Aarey Colony and the stay on work be lifted. The committee headed by the additional chief secretary Manoj Saunik is believed to have submitted the report on Tuesday to the government for further action.

Thackeray, who visited the tunneling work of the Metro 3 project at Worli, told reporters, ''Even though the committee had submitted its report, it is not binding on the state government. After comprehensive study of the report, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will take a decision on findings of the report. The government wants a sustainable development without damage to the environment,'' he noted.

The committee is believed to have observed that shifting of metro car shed will increase the Metro 3 corridor project cost, delay the commissioning of the project and project will be stuck due to logical challenges. However, the committee found merit in the argument that increased construction activity inside the Aarey Milk Colony and it has thus, recommended that the state government should notify the unbuilt green areas inside the colony as a no-construction belt, preserving it like a protected forest.

When FPJ contacted Saunik, he said,'' How can I confirm or deny?''

Former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis demanded that the government should lift the stay on metro card shed development at the earliest.

The 33.5-kilometre metro corridor from Colaba in South Mumbai to SEEPZ in Andheri is underground while the car shed is at the end of the line. Its location within Aarey Colony remains a bone of contention between environmentalists and the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (MMRCL), which is the nodal agency for the development of the corridor since the project was in it proposal stage.

The state government had stayed the Metro car shed development on November 29. Subsequently, the government had set up a four-member committee on December 12 to study the metro car shed project and its financial aspect. The committee's mandate included recommending alternatives for the metro car shed.

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