Wadala-Kasarwadavli Metro-4: Activists, environmentalists seek underground route

Thane: The citizen activists and environmentalists from Thane carried out an online panel discussion demanding underground route for Metro-4 from Wadala to Kasarwadavli on Ghodbunder road in the area. The discussion on Saturday evening had also put insights on other Metro projects in Mumbai.

Rohit Joshi, an environmentalist from Thane, Nitin Killawala, architect and town planner and Sanjeev Sane, president, Thane Matadata Jagran Abhiyan (TMJA) were the panellists for the online discussion.

The main focus of the panel discussion, which lasted for over an hour, was the impact of elevated metro projects on infrastructure and green cover, and the demand, instead, for underground metro projects by MMRDA (Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority) in Thane and Mumbai.

"As far as the Metro -4 is concerned, till now more than 1000 trees have been chopped in Thane jurisdiction itself while more than 350 trees have already been proposed to be removed for the project. During the start of this project, the MMRDA claimed that only 457 trees will be affected in the entire stretch of Metro-4. However, as per our study, there are around 5,000 trees which will be affected by the Metro-4 elevated project," said Joshi. The demand for the underground Metro-4 in Thane has been highlighted by the citizen activists since it was announced. Hence, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in 2018.

"Despite an ongoing PIL in the court, where the petitioners have also challenged the notices being issued by the Tree Authority for tree felling, trimming and transplantation including the methodology and site for compensatory plantation, TMC is continuing to permit the tree cutting and transplantation. TMC must refrain from doing so in sub judice matters given the act of tree cutting and transplantation is irreversible," added Joshi.

Metro-4 from Kasarwadavli to Wadala is an elevated 32.32-km corridor, designed with 32 stations along the line that runs parallel to eastern express highway, covering Ghatkopar and Mulund.

Sanjeev Sane, TMJA president, said that the roads and the junctions which come under the Metro-4 projects are already covered with other infrastructures like flyovers and skywalks. Besides, the proposed elevated Metro-4 project is not connected to the Thane railway station, which should have been the prime preference of this project. Whereas, the connection between the Thane railway station and Metro stations will be easier if it is constructed underground."

While the architecture and the town planning expert Nitin Killawala, too supported the underground Metro projects in Thane and Mumbai as well.

"Considering the nature of the city and the growing infrastructure, the proposal of the underground Metro can be more beneficial and will face fewer challenges, without affecting the thousands of trees. The proposed elevated Metro projects in Mumbai and Thane will need to redesign the present infrastructure (especially the major junctions connecting Metro stations) which are already conjugated. Hence, the concerned authority should consider the citizens and experts' demands before proposing the elevated Metro projects," said Killawala.

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