Resistance to Metro III stems from people’s lack of confidence

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The Bombay High Court said that one of the reasons the Metro III project was facing opposition from the residents was their lack of confidence in the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL).

A bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice N M Jamdar also said the way of life and thought process of the people in Mumbai were different from that of those in cities like Delhi and Kochi, where metro projects proceeded unhindered.

The bench proposed that a committee comprising experts, some residents and a high court judge be constituted to suggest ways to minimise the impact and damage caused to the environment by the Metro III work.

“The public should feel happy about what you (MMRCL) are doing. In the present case, the public has no confidence in you. They aren’t sure if what you are doing is right, perhaps because you are not transparent or you are not able to communicate with the public,” the court said.

It directed the advocate general to suggest the names of those, who should be there in the committee.

“However, the residents in the committee should be wise men. They should not be abnormal, over-sensitive people. Because, there are some people who are so sensitive that they get irritated even if a chair is being dragged,” Chief Justice Chellur said.

The directions came while the bench was hearing a petition alleging violation of noise pollution norms by the MMRCL in the construction of the Metro III line.

In August, acting on the petition, the court had passed an interim order, restraining the MMRCL from carrying out any construction or ancillary work on the Metro III line between 10 pm and 6 am.

The MMRCL, however, had sought permission from the court for using heavy vehicles and machinery for transporting construction debris, mud etc. at night.

While the bench refused to vacate the stay on Friday, it directed the MMRCL to submit the details of all the work it intends to do over the next three months, the work it wishes to do at night and the reasons why it must only be done at night. It also directed the MMRCL to release its work schedule on its website.

The bench, however, also reiterated that it had no intention of halting the Metro project.

Meanwhile, in a related matter, the bench directed the MMRCL to implement the curative measures suggested by a court-appointed committee, which is studying the damaging effects of the tunnelling work for the Metro III line on the heritage buildings of South Mumbai.