Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday announced the scrapping of Aarey metro car shed and said the project will now come up at Kanjurmarg in Mumbai. 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.
The Chief Minister 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. Thackeray said the government had earlier declared 600 acre of Aarey land as forest but now it has been revised to 800 acre. There will be no infringement on rights of tribals in the Aarey forest, he added.
"Biodiversity in Aarey needs to be to conserved and protected. Nowhere is there an 800-acre jungle in an urban set up. 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citizens and environmentalists who protested against the Aarey project and felling of trees in that area have been withdrawn, he said.
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 a 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.