Explained | The BJP-Shiv Sena stalemate over the Metro-3 Aarey car shed in Mumbai

The Centre recently urged the Maharashtra government to keep the car shed at Aarey Colony and not shift it to Kanjurmarg

Updated - April 16, 2022 09:30 am IST

Published - April 15, 2022 06:09 pm IST

Aarey Metro-3 Car shed

Aarey Metro-3 Car shed | Photo Credit: KSL

The stalemate over the Metro-3 car shed in Mumbai is continuing with the Centre recently urging the Maharashtra government to keep the car shed at Aarey colony.

However, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, which has already declared the 600 acres of land near Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) in suburban Mumbai as a ‘forest’, wants to shift the car shed to Kanjurmarg. Due to the continuous tussle between former allies BJP and Shiv Sena, the Metro-3 project, which was sanctioned in 2015 and started in 2019, is yet to be completed.

Here is a timeline of the tussle:

2019 October: SC stalls tree-felling for Metro amid protests

In October 2019, residents near Aarey colony staged massive protests after authorities from Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) cut down 2,656 trees in the area for constructing the Metro-3 line car shed.

Amid the massive protests, arrests and political faceoff, the Bombay High Court rejected pleas of activists seeking a stay on the cutting of trees at Aarey. The tree-felling had been okayed by the Tree Authority of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

Later, the Supreme Court put an interim stay on the felling of trees in Aarey colony, asking the government to maintain status quo. MMRCL informed that 2,141 of the 2,185 trees permitted to be cut down has been felled and 23,846 trees had been planted in their place elsewhere.

2019 November: MVA government stalls Aarey metro-3 car shed construction

The newly-sworn in CM Uddhav Thackeray, whose party Shiv Sena was one of the lead opposers of tree-felling at Aarey colony, ordered that no more trees will be felled, temporarily halting construction of the Metro car shed in that area.

He also declared the 600 acre land of Aarey colony as 'forest', excluding constructions of all types of roads, slums, Adivasi pockets and government facilities.

2020 October: MVA govt announces shift of Metro-3 car shed to Kanjurmarg

In January, the MVA government constituted a four-member committee headed by Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) Manoj Saunik to find any alternative land for constructing the Metro-3 car shed. However, the committee stated that no viable alternative was found to Aarey colony to build the metro-3 car shed. It also rejected a marshy land at Kanjurmarg which was proposed for the Jogeshwari-Lokhandwala-Vikhroli-Kanjurmarg Metro-6 line.

Despite the report, CM thackeray announced that the Metro-3 car shed will be relocated from Aarey Colony to 102 acres of a Kanjurmarg village, adding that no additional cost will be incurred for the shift.

2020 October: BJP rebuts MVA's decision

In a series of tweets, ex-CM Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP argued that in 2015 his government had considered the Kanjurmarg option but due to delays and multiple litigations it was finally decided to give up on it.

He further added that ongoing construction on Metro-6 line would have to be stalled immediately and the entire project would have to be redesigned, and rebuilt. This, he estimated will delay the Metro-3 line commissioning by 4.5 years.

He argued that the shifting of the car depot will hamper the frequency of operations of both Line 3 and Line 6, and inflate the cost by over a thousand crore rupees.

December 2020: Bombay HC stays Metro car shed at Kanjurmarg

After MVA's order to shift the Metro car shed for lines 3, 4, 4A and 6 to Kanjurmarg, the Centre filed a petition in the Bombay High Court challenging it. In its plea, it claimed that the proposed land belonged to the Centre's salt department. However, the MVA government claimed that the land allotted to MMRDA for the Metro car shed was owned by the State. In response, the Bombay High Court stayed construction of the Metro car shed in Kanjurmarg

Aggrieved by the stay, Mr. Thackeray warned the Centre that it was imperative to set aside egos. He also directed officials to explore shifting of Metro car shed from the proposed Kanjurmarg land to other sites including the Bandra-Kurla Complex land set aside for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train.

““If there is a controversy over the ownership of land, the issue can be resolved through dialogue. The issue on Kanjurmarg land is not about my ego and it shouldn’t be about yours too” ”Uddhav ThackerayMaharashtra CM

2021: MMRC continues tunnelling work for Metro Line-3

As of date, underground work of 11 stations of Metro-3 line (i.e 90%) has been completed, the MMRC has said. The Metro line's route is 33 km long, running along Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ with 26 underground stations and one above-ground.

2022 April: Bombay HC urges Centre, MVA to forget differences over Metro-3

On April 7, a Division Bench of Bombay High Court told the Union and State governments to forget past conflicts and make a new beginning on the Metro 3 line project.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh said that said that the plot at Kanjurmarg would have technical issues in future. It further recommended shifting the project back to Aarey Colony. The Bench adjourned the matter to June 10.

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