Mumbai

Experts meet to discuss impact of Metro on city

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‘Shifting of tribals, flooding are worries’

Around 50 people gathered at Pragnya Bodhini High School in Goregaon this weekend to discuss the Mumbai Metro project and its impact on the future of the city.

Speakers included lawyer Hema Ramani, urban conservationist Shweta Wagh, urban researcher Hussain Indorewala and leopard researcher Nikit Surve from the Wildlife Conservation Society India.

Public transport or not

Condemning the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation for the car shed in Aarey colony, Mr. Indorewala said, “The BEST bus system is the one of the most affordable and economically inclusive forms of transport. However, I don’t know why building of Metro rails is given greater preference in the name of public transport, because it is debatable whether they even qualify as public transport.”

He said the tribal hamlets that occupy the Aarey colony depend mostly on plantation for their livelihood, and will have to relocate if the trees are felled. “The relocation will shift the community to houses that come under the rehabilitation and resettlement plan, which, I fear, will make the community face the same impediments the residents of Mahul are facing due to their relocation,” Mr. Indorewala said.

Larger footprint

Ms. Ramani said people should be more sensitive when it comes to doing away with trees. “People keep questioning activists as to why they were not complaining about the Film City built around Aarey. The footprint created due to the Film City is far smaller than what the Metro car shed can lead to,” she said.

Poor planning

Ms. Wagh blamed the authorities for poor planning and mapping of the project.

“The MMRDA has constantly maintained that the Mithi is not a river, but a tribal settlement around the Mithi experienced flooding this year, which has never happened before. This could be a direct result of ongoing infrastructural developments in Aarey, where the Mithi has a catchment area. The zoo and Metro shed will block Aarey’s continuity to Sanjay Gandhi National Park,” Ms. Wagh said.

Home to species

Mr. Surve, meanwhile, said Aarey may not be considered a forest, but it is home to several species like tarantulas and spiders that have been named after it.

“The Chrysilla volupe spider’s female counterpart was found after 139 years after its male was discovered. It is also home to leopards who live like the people in Aarey live. These leopards are equally scared of humans as humans are of them. The recent developments are a threat to the entire ecosystem and several rare species,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 7:01:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/experts-meet-to-discuss-impact-of-metro-on-city/article30553284.ece

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