MoEF offers ray of hope for Metro II

After a fresh round of talks with the city's development authority, officials from the Ministry of Environment and Forests have said they are willing to re-consider environment clearance for the much-delayed Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd Metro.

In a discussion last week in Delhi, senior officials from MoEF asked Rahul Asthana, metropolitan commissioner at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), to resubmit the project proposal with certain modifications.

"The environment secretary told me to submit a revised proposal for the Metro car depot showing a sewage treatment plant outside the area that falls under Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ). So, we can show that the effluents are discharged outside the CRZ area, causing little impact on mangroves," said Asthana.

The land earmarked for the proposed car depots - about 12 hectares in Charkop and 24 hectares in Mankhurd falls in CRZ-1 and CRZ-2 where no construction is permitted.

MoEF had given a green nod for the project in 2011, but laid down several conditions on the construction of the car depots, due to which it was difficult to start work. As per the conditions, the agency constructing the Metro would have to build car depots on stilts. The ministry had also strictly prohibited any washing and maintenance activities inside the depots.

MMRDA has been trying to get alternative land for the depots. However, despite zeroing in on two plots until now, one in Charkop and the other in Goregaon, it has not been able to freeze on either as the former is reserved for other purposes and the latter is privately owned.

The 32-km Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd Metro was to be completed by 2014. Mumbai Metro Transport Pvt Ltd, a Reliance Infrastructure-led consortium, is in charge of construction.

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