The Bombay High Court (HC) has issued notices on a contempt petition filed by the residents of western suburb against Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for carrying out full-fledged work on Metro 2B line despite there being a stay order on constructions issued by the court on May 2, 2018. The MMRDA was to undertake work of utility, identification and piercing of soil testing, but ‘brazenly’ carried out piling work on columns and full-fledged construction despite opposition from western suburb residents. There is also a long-standing demand for an underground Metro 2B line, which will run from DN Nagar in Andheri to Mandale in Mankhurd via Bandra, which will also be taken up as a key issue during the upcoming elections. More than 10 lakh affected residents, a potential vote bank, have pledged to exercise NOTA (none of the above) option, if their demand is not accepted by the government.
The high court order dated March 20 states, “MMRDA submits that the order dated May 2, 2018 passed by this court was not continued from September 18, 2018 onwards. Prima facie, we are not convinced to accept this explanation.” Architect Nitin Killawala, who is spearheading the citizens’ movement, said, “lt is unfortunate that lawmakers themselves are lawbreakers, and to prove that citizens have to run to courts. Since HC order of May 2018, MMRDA was directed to obtain necessary permissions, especially from fire department and Airports Authority of India (AAI). Even after ten months, not a single permission they could produce, which are in any case not obtainable and they desperately commenced work haphazardly to show ‘development’ for which again citizens had to run to courts to prove this contempt. Now even after contempt notices issued, authorities are ruthlessly bulldozing our major roads, bus stops, trees, etc under the pretext that no one can challenge this government.” Gautam Rao, chairman Guzdar Scheme Residents’ Trust in Santacruz West, who is at the forefront of the Metro 2B agitation, said, “The court order is simple. There is a contempt of court.
The BMC fire department and MMRDA have been asked to file an affidavit. MMRDA was only allowed to do soil testing and check for utilities like power cables and gas pipelines. But they went ahead and did piling of columns and construction which was not allowed till they got permissions from various authorities.” Rao further added that the Metro 2B line showed Metro stations without buildings on either side of it to the fire brigade. “As per the Development Plan 2034 and the new development control rules there should be a 9-metre distance between building and road wall so that fire brigade can enter. But the Metro stations will come touching homes in Khira Nagar, Santacruz and Khar which isn’t shown to the fire brigade. MMRDA is trying to fool everybody.
We want to stop work on Metro till permission from Airports Authority of India and fire brigade is in place which we firmly believe will be hard to obtain. When there was a fire in monorail, the authorities were concerned with saving Metro stations than residential buildings,” he said. Rao said that MMRDA is being arrogant and there are other reasons why western suburb residents are pressing for an underground Metro 2B line. R A Rajeev, MMRDA Metropolitan Commissioner, when contacted said, “The matter is sub-judice. We will soon file an affidavit in the court.”
Source: Mumbai Mirror