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800 Acres of Mumbai's Aarey Land Declared Forest, Metro Car Shed Project Shifted to Kanjurmarg

Residents protest against the cutting of trees in Aarey forest, in Mumbai on September 15, 2019. (PTI Photo/Shashank Parade)

Residents protest against the cutting of trees in Aarey forest, in Mumbai on September 15, 2019. (PTI Photo/Shashank Parade)

Cases last year against citizens and environmentalists who protested against the Aarey project and felling of trees in that area have also been withdrawn.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday announced that the proposed new car shed for the Mumbai Metro will be shifted to Kanjurmarg to save the forests in the Aarey Colony area. He also announced that 800 acre of Aarey land has been declared as forest as opposed to 600 earlier.

In a webcast, Thackeray said the project will be shifted to a government land in Kanjurmarg and no cost will be incurred for the purpose. "The land will be available at zero rate," he said.

He said the building which has come up in Aarey forest will be utilised for some other public purpose.

"About Rs 100 crore expenditure was incurred for the purpose and it won't go waste," he said, adding that there will be no infringement on the rights of tribals in the Aarey forest.

"Biodiversity in Aarey needs to be to conserved and protected. Nowhere is there an 800-acre jungle in an urban setup. Mumbai has a natural forest cover," he said.

Cases last year against citizens and environmentalists who protested against the Aarey project and felling of trees in that area have been withdrawn, Thackeray added.

The move to relocate the car shed from Aarey came amid reports that the state government was considering if two of the upcoming Metro lines could share maintenance facility. It had appointed Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to prepare a feasibility study on Metro 3 (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz) sharing its car shed with Line 6 (Vikhroli-Lokhandwala).

There were also reports that Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd officials had expressed apprehension that the Metro Line 3 project may be delayed by three years and its cost may go up by over Rs 2,000 crore if the car shed for the line was shifted from Aarey Colony. Former chief minister and Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis recently said the state governments plan to relocate Metro 3 car shed from Aarey was a reflection of wrong policy.


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