At present Mumbai Suburban Trains (Mumbai Locals) are overcrowded and they carry passengers almost two times more
than their designed carrying capacity, this scenario has increased the ratio of train accidents in Mumbai. Metro-III
will be boon for the daily commuters as it will reduce the load on Mumbai Locals and also will connect South Mumbai
to commercial areas like BKC, Worli, etc., which at present not connected by Mumbai Suburban Rail Network. It will
also reduce the travelling time between Southern Mumbai and Western Suburbs. Thus considering the present transport
condition of Mumbai, Metro III is must for Mumbai and depending upon the shortage of land in Metropolitan city like
Mumbai underground metro is feasible for Mumbai.
Now considering the environmental factors associated with the project, almost 5,012 trees will be affected by Metro III project of which almost 2,298 trees will be affected for construction of car depot at Aarey colony , considering the ecological importance of Aarey Colony it can be said that destruction of such a huge number of trees at Aarey will affect the ecology of Mumbai as it is considered as Green Lung of Mumbai , alternatives should be considered for construction of car depot, Aarey Colony is not the feasible place in terms of environment for construction of car depot, destruction of such a huge number of trees for construction of metro should not all be accepted as it will have tremendous effect on ecology.
Metro-III Project should be developed but only after considering suitable alternative other than Aarey for construction of car depot.
To decongest the city roads and local trains an alternate transit system is definitely the need of time. The
Metro-III Project will help in doing so but the project from start itself is in lots of controversy because of its
proposed car shed at Aarey Colony which comprises of 2000 hectares stretch of grasslands and forest thickets - The
Aarey Forest. The proposed car shed if constructed will totally disturb the natural ecosystem existing in the Aarey
forest (also associated ecosystem with it) and in doing so we will only be a step closer on the path of devastation
by creating ecological imbalance. Citizens and environmentalist are not opposing the development of the Metro-III,
it’s just that the development should take place with due care for environment.
We are well aware of the fact that Mumbai is an island city with an average mean sea level of 14M. The Metro-III line is proposed to be constructed 15-30M underground, which means the underground Metro is highly vulnerable to flooding during monsoon season and whenever the high tide and heavy rains coincide. The Government and the Planning Authorities of Metro-III should be well prepared for the worst scenarios. A proper well-functioning effective structural and environmental management plan will help to avert this crisis and sideline the negative impact of the project.
Combined with this the Government should try to enhance the existing infrastructures by creating more pedestrian footpaths and cycle tracks (a sustainable way) which would benefit to wider section of the population and allow us to gain maximum benefits from the various developmental projects with due consideration to environment.
Plans for Metro-III will undergo a massive deforestation, no doubt but at the same time the Metro has committed to
save the environment rather than only degrading it. This project will prove a balance between environment and
development as the public transport system is promoted in the process which is surely going to reduce some pressure
on the environment. Once fully commissioned, this project will reduce vehicle trips per day take off almost 6.5 Lakh
vehicle trips from the road per day. This means almost 2.5 Lakh litres of fuel saved daily which in turn reduces,
the burden on the natural resources and carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.
We should hope that these commitments should come into reality and not just on the black & white. I deeply believe that in this present scenario of population expansion, care is needed for both Nature & the people.
Ostensibly to compensate for the tree loss, Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation has engaged a foreigner
(who will reportedly be paid Rs 22 Lakhs per month) to manage the tree preservation management plan.
Why have local scientists and experts more familiar with the city's ecology been overlooked?
Apart from possibly irreversible damage to Mumbai's green lung, Metro 3 on the whole seems to be a poorly planned project. The transport infrastructure of Mumbai, even Metro 3 and the coastal road project, favours the Western line - how much the needed east-west connectivity of Mumbai improves as a result of Metro 3 is unclear. Neither will Metro 3 be able to match the cost of existing bus and local train services. Mumbai is also experiencing a northward migration of both business operations and local population and the metro ridership may have been overestimated. Given the city's low elevation above mean sea level and its propensity to water logging, an underground metro will only escalate the flooding problem. Metro 3 will also pass under the Mithi River. Considering the fact that Mumbai lies in the moderate damage earthquake risk zone, the impacts of construction and operational vibration on heritage buildings and buildings with poor structural integrity in certain South Mumbai sections will have to be closely monitored. There are also issues with regards to the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. The air traffic control tower will be very close to the metro station leading to security issues. Reports state that passengers will not be allowed to carry check-in baggage on the metro. Shifting of utility lines to accommodate the underground metro will also be a problem. The project has already been subject to numerous delays, and escalating costs will be passed to commuters.
Even if Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation puts into practice all possible safeguards, time will tell whether an underground metro is feasible for Mumbai - the economic viability of the project will be affected by how much is spent on mitigation measures.
Mumbai Metro Phase-III is a Public service project to ease the commute of over a million people residing in the
Mumbai Metropolitan. It will cut short the daily travel time and provide connectivity from Cuffe Parade to Aarey
colony; so this project is another jewel in the crown of Mumbai City. Such glorious publicity makes the common man
hope beyond hope that his daily travel battles will reduce drastically.
But when you stop, think and evaluate; the ground reality is far from pleasant. This ambitious project will be constructed in Aarey, a part of the only green lung of Mumbai. Uprooting of trees, construction debris, influx of workers, traffic jams and loud noise due to construction vehicles, drawl from municipal or groundwater supply are just a few major impacts of the Metro-III’s construction phase, which will take over a year for completion. The Operation phase of this project will worsen the condition in that area, stripping off its green cover and making it just another busy travel route. Construction on other areas on this route has already begun and has led to traffic jams, increased emissions and dust and loud noise in the surrounding areas. This project is hence a pitiable situation wherein the public either chooses to travel like animals on the existing routes or instead sides with the destruction of a wildlife habitat and further increased pollution levels, just so that he can travel better.
With the upcoming draft Marine and Coastal Regulation Zone (MCRZ) Notification; is the Government not further threatening our only ‘Environment’? A draft Marine and Coastal Regulation Zone (MCRZ) Notification is reportedly in the offing (Source: The Indian Express, 22/03/17) with an objective to remove the ban on reclamation of land in coastal areas for commercial or entertainment purposes while also allowing tourism activities in these ecologically sensitive areas along the shores. Additionally, this notification will remove the necessity of obtaining Environmental Clearances for constructing housing units, and related infrastructure, for the local fishermen community.Do you believe that the focus should shift in favor of environment rather than on enhancing economy?
I believe that our environment should be considered first because economy will only exists when there will be an environment. This upcoming notification can be modified by incorporating certain light on the conservation of coastal areas due to allowed Tourism activities or related commercial works. This way a balance can be developed between the Environment & the Economy.
Well its good enough that special provision has been made for the betterment of the local fishermen community through the new draft notification but environmental clearances should be made mandatory irrespective of the communities so as to prevent the coastal areas exploitation from the hands of local builders and developers. For the benefit of local tribes/communities the government can initiate some subsidence schemes or support to promote the growth & welfare of local fishermen community. And by allowing reclamation of land in coastal areas for commercial or entertainment purposes will eventually add more areas to these rapidly growing concrete jungles (urbanization). Not to forget the vulnerabilities of the reclaimed lands to soil liquefaction during earthquakes, subsidence from soil compaction, increased chances of flooding, etc. Tourism in the eco-sensitive areas should be strictly prohibited if preliminary studies shows that there is bound to be a negative impact on the eco-sensitive areas. If human intervention is not controlled then it will lead us on the fast-track of unsustainable development thereby initiating a series of other disastrous events which will completely wipe out the environment (not to forget human beings are a part of environment). If environment doesn't exist who will reap the benefits from the enhanced economy..??
The soon to be published draft Marine and Coastal Regulation Zone (MCRZ) notification is a futile waste of resources which does nothing to protect the fragile Marine and Coastal ecosystem. It is devastating to note the numerous amendments made to the CRZ notification of 2011 such as the amendment made for statues, coastal roads and the new airport in Navi Mumbai, all in the name of “national interest”. Such national interests are just the interests of a select few and not based on the opinions of the whole nation. This new draft notification is just another way of poking holes in the coastal safeguards mentioned in the 2011 CRZ notification. This notification if finalized could cause proliferation of more senseless events, such as the AOL event on the Yamuna banks, and tourism activities like the setting up of shacks in Goa. While the Environment Department mentions that these activities can be permitted in eco sensitive areas after adequate studies, it fails to mention a benchmark for these studies and if these studies are undertaken by economy driven stakeholders with vested interests, would be a completely pointless exercise. While this new notification is being prepared it should be noted that the MoEF has still not finalised all the Eco Sensitive areas and the CZMP maps, a survey which has been under process since over a decade. Instead of focusing on local sustainable eco tourism practices and eco-fortification of the coastline, it is utterly disappointing to see how the economic interests of the privileged few could lead to natural disasters due to the decimation of the natural coastline and marine biodiversity of our beautiful country.
The draft notification is yet another move by the government seeking to dilute environmental safeguards. Coastal areas are dynamic ecosystems and human interventions in the form of land reclamation, tourism, etc. have mostly caused their degradation with economic benefit to a few. At the very least, if environmental clearances are done away with, the notification must incorporate participatory planning with affected fishing communities for new project developments and have stringent norms for studies to be conducted in eco-sensitive areas.
The upcoming Marine and coastal regulation zone (MCRZ) notification will have serious impact on the marine biota, depending upon the environmental importance of certain areas along the shores they are designated as ecosensitive area and are presently included in CRZ I category as per CRZ notification 2011.
Allowing construction in ecosensitive area (along the shore) and removing the ban on reclamation of land in coastal areas for commercial or entertainment purposes will have devastating impact on marine ecosystem and will indirectly impact entire food chain,thus if government is planning to allow construction in CRZ areas , environmental clearances should be mandatory for such projects, which will help in understanding the impact of project and accordingly environmental management plan will be implemented which will prevent the harm on marine ecosystem to some extent.
The state government is eyeing large chunks of Salt Pans for development. One of the plans is to
build 1.5 lakh houses to rehabilitate project-affected persons and slum dwellers. It also wants to
build houses for middle and higher income people to solve the affordable housing crisis in the
city. Maharashtra has 13000 acres of Salt Pan out of which Mumbai owns 5400 acres. The
Centre has decided to shut down salt departments across the country, including Mumbai (the
other places are Chennai, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Kolkata) - (Source: Times of India).
The decision comes at a time when the state government has plans to open up large chunks of these eco-sensitive sprawls in Mumbai for "Affordable Housing". Also many activists have warned of an environmental disaster and also environmentalist remind that the land constitute Mumbai’s last oxygen reservoir and should be left untouched.
MUMBAI an alpha world city, an important trade center, an industrial hub and has high
influx of people into the city. On one side it’s on the superfast track of industrialization and
urbanization on the flip side the urbanization (read as concretization) has left it with very
little open space. And now the decision of the State Government to use Salt Pan (which are
“no development zone” as per Coastal Zone Regulation) for construction will squeeze off
the oxygen (fresh air) from the city. Mumbai an island city which is bounded by the Arabian
sea coast and also many parts of the city is just above sea level. The Salt Pan acts as a buffer
zone between the Arabian Sea and the mainland of the city by holding excess water during
monsoon. Construction on these lands will worsen the chronic problem of flood during
monsoon as water will not have any passage to move out of the city. As a matter of fact,
Mumbai has already paid its price for replacing the mangroves with concrete structures
planned haphazardly (remember the 26 th July 2005 flooded Mumbai…????).
In addition to acting as buffer zone, Salt Pans acts as dwelling sites for various local birds and migratory birds, thus construction will destroy their habitats. Salt Pans are made out from the mangrove areas, so regeneration of mangroves can happen there which will benefit even if salt is not produced from the Salt Pan in future.
Construction works on Salt Pan need to be properly and well managed as the land is delicate (since it’s a buffer zone), it contains the corrosive substance like sodium chloride, sulphur which can easily corrode of the structure, thereby weakening the foundation. And if the foundation is weak, we are aware of the consequences it’s like “Building a house on sand”. Also for stabilization of the Salt Pan will take years, which will ultimately shoot-up the project cost than the estimated cost. For stabilization, reformation of the Salt Pan will be done which will disturb the sea-bed because of its proximity of the sea and will affect the marine environment and threaten their eco-system.
Till the project develop into reality the native dwellers (slum) will be reaped off. The development is planned to rehabilitate the slum dwellers by creating new slum dwellers which in any way makes no sense….
So instead of investing heavily on a projects which weighs down too much on the negative side, the State should make and put effort in proper utilization of existing lands, waste lands and infrastructure so that there will be Sustainable Development.
Salt Pan act as a buffer zone between land and water it acts a barrier to prevent water to enter in the city from sea, also Salt Pans are most favorable place for
migratory birds like flamingoes Presently Salt Pan due to its fragile properties towards environment are considered under CRZ 1 areas, but government’s move to use
Salt Pan as infrastructure developmental site will not only harm this ecological important areas, but increase chances of flood in the city. If this plan gets
final approval and housing projects come on Salt Pan there are chances that Mumbai can even face big flood than 26 july 2005.
Providing affordable housing is good step of government, but by disturbing Salt Pan is not at all acceptable. Salt Pan should be developed as ecotourism site not as infrastructure developmental site.
To cater to its exploding populations, the Indian Central and State Governments eye any land parcel that is undeveloped, hence now they look to develop Salt Pans.
CRZ and Eco-sensitive Zone violations have already occurred and now the Salt Pan lands are being targeted. The ease of construction in these areas would be quite
low since the salty soil is not suitable for construction. This would mean remediation of soil would have to be done which will incur huge costs which will be
passed on to home buyers eventually, so this won’t be a case of affordable housing. Also these Salt Pans lie in CRZ areas which means for such 'affordable housing'
the CRZ rules will be further diluted. instead of destroying undeveloped lands it should undertake redevelopment of existing structures and focus on vertical
building growth rather than horizontal growth.
While it is noble of the government to think of providing affordable housing for all, it should rather focus its energy on national population reduction strategies to ensure no additional environmental load is caused in the future.