In a huge setback, the Maharashtra government has been urged to reconsider its plan to relocate the metro car shed from Aarey to Kanjurmarg. Undersecretary Sunil Kumar of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs stated in a three-page letter dated March 17 that the Aarey property for the depot was the best option due to technical concerns.
The metro car shed was first suggested at Aarey under the Devendra Fadnavis administration. During the MVA era, however, the project was shifted out of Aarey after massive protests from environmentalists backed by the Shiv Sena, the BJP’s then alliance partner.
Because the land at Aarey is sufficient to meet current and design life traffic requirements until 2055, it would not be a wise decision to move the shed to Kanjurmarg at this stage of the project on this premise, especially since the project is nearing completion and the combined depot plans will introduce operational and maintenance bottlenecks in the network’s operation for the entire lifecycle of this project.
The Centre is concerned that there may be issues with the metro line’s signalling system during normal operating hours. It further stated that the state’s intentions for its alternative location at Kanjurmarg are factually inaccurate.
Furthermore, the land at Aarey is free of all encumbrances, whereas the land at Kanjurmarg is encumbered by numerous lawsuits. In fact, legal challenges to the location of the depot at Aarey, which were mostly based on environmental concerns, have already been resolved by higher courts, including the Honorable Supreme Court, and there are currently no legal barriers at the original site.”
The letter requested that the work be expedited due to the excessive delay. “The Government of India is urged to reconsider its decision to relocate the Line-3 Depot from Aarey colony to Kanjurmarg. GoM is requested to authorise the restart of Line-3 depot work at Aarey colony in order to expedite the completion of the public-interest project, with a thorough examination of feasible optimisations in the current depot plans at Aarey. The project is already behind schedule, and it is projected to be significantly delayed if the uncertainty persists,” it stated.
When CM Uddhav Thackeray recently inaugurated two new metro lines, opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis slammed the MVA Government for delaying the metro 3 line, claiming that the decision to relocate the metro car shed from Aarey to Kanjurmarg has resulted in a five-year delay in project completion.