Defending the Mumbai Metro line III project in the face of complaints of noise pollution from residents, Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) on Thursday said that the project was the “need of the hour” considering that the available public transport system in the city was overcrowded and insufficient.
In an affidavit filed in the Bombay High Court, the senior deputy general manager of MMRCL said that “early completion” of the project was imperative to prevent any disaster in the future due to overcrowded suburban trains or buses.
“The need for the early completion of the project and the reasons for the same are evident from the fact that the public transport system of Mumbai is heavily overloaded and congested, and is on its edge,” the affidavit reads.
“During peak hours, trains do not have space even for a pebble. The rail transport system is desperately begging for relief, and if it is too late, there will be near catastrophe.
Being well aware of this dying necessity, the Mumbai Metro Line III project has been brought in the city of Mumbai,” the affidavit reads.
The affidavit was filed following a Public Interest Litigation filed in the high court seeking a stay on the construction of the 33-km Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro line III during night hours on account of the inconvenience caused to residents due to the noise hence generated.
In August this year, a bench led by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur had prohibited MMRCL from carrying out any construction or ancillary activity for the project between 10 pm and 6 am.
In its affidavit, however, MMRCL has sought that such a stay order be vacated.
“If the stay granted by this court is not modified or vacated, then the project time line will be delayed by several years. This will result in increasing the cost of the project and imposing additional financial burden on the public exchequer,” MMRCL said.
It also said that it was trying its best to control the noise generated due to the construction work and that it was also holding meetings with the residents in South Mumbai to understand their concerns, and seek their cooperation.
Meanwhile, in another petition filed by the trustees of the JN Petit Institute, opposing the Metro III work alleging damage to its heritage building because of the drilling work, the high court directed MMRCL to either consider the remedial measures suggested by the court appointed committee or, propose its own curative measures.
Last month, the high court had directed that a committee be constituted to study the effects of such tunnelling work on the buildings, and to suggest ways to continue with the work without damaging the buildings in the area.
The committee comprising structural engineers and experts from the institute submitted a set of suggestions in the court.
The suggestions include providing additional support to vulnerable portions of the affected buildings, in the area, more vigorous monitoring of the vibrations caused due to the drilling work, providing supporting props for the buildings and so on.
MMRCL, however, told the court that such suggestions were restorative measures that can be undertaken once the construction of the Metro project is complete.
Chief Justice Chellur said that MMRCL should then propose its own set of remedial or preventive measures and the same should then be reviewed by the committee.