MMRC insists Mumbai Metro depot in Aarey is 'for public interest'


By Ranjeet Jadhav

Even as citizen groups and political parties continue to vociferously oppose the proposed construction of a depot for the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro Line III in Aarey Colony, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) has sent a formal proposal to the state’s Urban Development Department, stating that it wants to construct the depot on a 24-hectare plot in Aarey, in the greater interest of the public.

However, according to sources, the proposed car depot will only take care of Metro services for 20 years. Post this, a new car depot will have to be constructed on the Kanjurmarg land, which had been suggested by the Chief Minister’s appointed committee. On March 8, mid-day carried a front-page report on activists who have identified a 97-hectare, litigation-free plot in Kanjurmarg for the depot.

Solving commuter problems
Yesterday, MMRC Managing Director Ashwini Bhide interacted with selected reporters on the issue of constructing the car depot in Aarey. Post the meeting, an official from MMRC said, “Already the project has been delayed because of the protests and this has also resulted in cost escalation. In larger public interest, we don’t want the project to get delayed as it is going to solve the commuting problems of the people.”

Rs 1,500-crore delay
The actual work for the Metro line is yet to begin and the project is around 18 months behind schedule. Sources from MMRDA informed that the various delays — including the issues over the car depot, resettlement and rehabilitation — have escalated the cost of the project by around Rs 1,500 crore. More info