The Logical Indian Crew

12.7 ha Of Mangrove Forest To Be Cleared For Mumbai Railway Expansion, Environmentalists Seek Transplantation Plan

The environmentalists said that the construction of lines is essential to ease the congestion, but it was equally important to have a plan for compensatory afforestation. They recommended the corporation should have provided a publicly available plan for transplantation and gotten feedback from the citizens.

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Mumbai's suburban trains have been plagued with overcrowding, with scores of commuters hanging on to the compartment doors. The Mumbai Railways Vikas Corporation (MRVC) will be extending the fifth and sixth railway lines between Borivali to Virar to ease the congestion.

The Maharashtra Forest Department has given the nod to the corporation for clearing out nearly 12.7 hectares of mangrove forests located in Mumbai's Dahisar village (3.68 hectares), Thane's Penpada village (1.42 hectares) and Palghar's Umele village (7.67 hectares) for the construction.

However, the corporation has yet to receive clearances from the Bombay High Court to clear the clearing of mangroves and Coastal Regulation Zones (CRZ) clearance from the state coastal zone management authority.

Decongesting Trains

The aim is to create new capacity and bring down congestion, increase the frequency of trains, and reduce the number of accidents.

Project Details

Reportedly, the World Bank has funded the project. The 26 km long extension of lines is being executed at the cost of ₹2,184 crores, under Phase III-A of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP), Hindustan Times reported.

The construction of the fifth and sixth lines was sanctioned by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in April 2020.

According to the report, Phase-IIIA also involves the construction of several suburban railway corridors. The entire project is being executed at the cost of ₹54,777 crores, borne equally by the Railways Ministry and the state government.

According to HT, the committee had approved Phase-IIIA of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project to improve the connectivity between Thane, Mumbai, Palghar and Raigad districts.

Extension With Segregate Essential Services

Presently, there are five Mumbai Central and Borivali lines and four lines from Borivali to Virar, while the sixth line is under construction. The transport at Borivali will worsen if the lines are not extended.

"The construction will help set apart suburban and non-suburban services on the western line beyond Borivali and create independent slow and fast corridors between Virar and Churchgate, which will allow us to increase services across the entire length," an MRVC official told the media.

Need Compensatory Afforestation

When questioned if the clearance of the forest could be avoided, the MRVC cited the site-specific nature of the project and said that it could there were alternative alignments to it.

Speaking to the media, environmentalist Zoru Bhatena said that the loss of mangroves has to be seen in the context of the project's benefits. The construction of lines is essential to ease the congestion and improve accident-prone train systems, but it was equally important to have a plan for compensatory afforestation.

Bhatena said the corporation should have provided a publicly available plan for transplantation and gotten feedback from the citizens.

Also Read: Unable To Procure Loan Documents, Kerala Fisherman Dies By Suicide

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Writer : Devyani Madaik
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Editor : Snehadri Sarkar
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Creatives : Devyani Madaik