Mosque agrees to raze minaret in way of bridge

More than four years after the construction of the 11.4-km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro started, the city's development authority is now closer to achieving complete right of way along the corridor's alignment as it has reached a settlement with the owners of one of the last two structures in the way of the project.

After several months of negotiations, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has secured the cooperation of a mosque near Andheri station for partially demolishing one of its minarets, which was obstructing the completion of the crucial Metro bridge over suburban railway tracks.

"The Metro bridge over the suburban railway tracks at Andheri, at one point, goes about six feet above our parapet wall and to accommodate that, the authorities wanted to demolish one of our minarets. They had approached us first in March or April this year, but we did not have clarity on their plans at that time," said Umarbhai Chouhan, a trustee of the mosque. "The local Member of Parliament and corporator mediated and now we have agreed to let them go ahead with their plans in return for monetary compensation," he added.

A spokesperson of the Reliance Infrastructure-led Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL), the consortium in charge of the Metro construction, said this was the only impediment in the construction of the 183-metre steel bridge that will connect the elevated Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro from Andheri west to east.

MMRDA spokesperson Dilip Kawathkar said the mosque's trust will undertake the demolition work for which they have made an advance payment.

However, in order to get 100 per cent right of way, the MMRDA is yet to reach an agreement with the trust of Maheshwar temple, which is partially in way of the under-construction Asalfa Metro station.

"The state government had issued a notification for land acquisition at the Maheshwar temple, but a final agreement has to be reached with the temple trust. It should be done soon, but since the issue has taken long, work at Asalfa station is lagging behind," he added.

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