A day after the go-ahead from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) tree authority to cut and transplant 2,646 trees in Aarey Colony, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) plans to start work on the Metro-3 (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz) car depot within a month.
The depot, spread across 25 hectares in Aarey, will include two maintenance sheds, an operations and control centre, stabling yards and a station building. It will also house a sub-station for power supply.
“We will start work once the garden department issues the notification. We have worked on designs, finalised it and we will try to complete the work as soon as possible,” said Ashwini Bhide, managing director, MMRC.
Bhide said the MMRC has also completed 90% of tunnelling between Aarey and the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Terminal-2. “The depot is important for every aspect of Metro operations,” she said.
The first rake for Metro-3 is expected to reach Mumbai in November 2020.
Post which, three trains will be delivered every month. The depot will have the capacity to house 31 trains of eight coaches each. Metro-3 is a fully underground line, connecting the island city to the western suburbs. In Aarey, the MMRC will be cutting 2,185 trees and transplanting 461 trees. It is looking at retaining 989 trees on a five-hectare plot and another 56 trees at the periphery.
“We have already signed an agreement with the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) to plant 20,000 trees in the area. The SGNP will be maintaining these trees for seven years. Apart from this, we have also appointed an agency to maintain three nurseries,” Bhide added.
The BMC’s 18-member tree authority on Thursday passed the proposal, which has been vociferously opposed by citizens since 2015. Recently, Mumbaiites submitted 82,000 objections against the tree cutting in Aarey. However, MMRC officials have maintained that the depot cannot be shifted to another location.