A division bench of the Bombay High Court, comprising chief justice Manjula Chellur and justice NM Jamdar, while hearing a bunch of petitions claiming that the construction activity for the Mumbai Metro III was resulting in noise pollution in the areas concerned, has said that it cannot permanently stop the project. “There needs to be a balance. We cannot stop development. This project will decongest roads and will benefit everyone,” the bench said. Last month, the court had refused to allow the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) the use of heavy machinery or transportation vehicles at night, for the Metro III line work.
The MMRCL had sought the court’s permission, to bring heavy vehicles to construction sites in south Mumbai during the night hours, to transport construction material and debris. Advocate general Ashutosh Kumbakoni sought that the court reconsider the issue and said, “The nature of machinery, equipment and material that needs to be brought, in are heavy and large. Traffic needs to be stopped for these to be transported. It would not be proper if traffic is stopped during day time and hence, it needs to be done at night.”
The court then said it was aware of the authority’s anxiety and concern to complete the project and directed the MMRCL to file an affidavit, giving details of what work needs to be carried out during night time and the time schedule for the same. “We are aware of your concern and anxiety. However, we cannot overlook everything. You (MMRCL) cannot carry on work each night for a whole year. There are school and college children, who have to prepare for exams,” chief justice Chellur said. “We understand that there has to be compromise and sacrifice by people too. Extreme sensitivity and arbitrariness is also not correct,” she said.
The bench has now posted the petitions for hearing on October 13, 2017, by when the MMRCL will have to submit its affidavit. The 33-kilometre Colaba–Bandra-SEEPZ Metro line III project is part of the metro system that will connect the Cuffe Parade business district in south Mumbai to SEEPZ in the city’s north-central suburb. In August 2017, acting on the above petitions, the court had restrained the MMRCL from carrying out any construction or ancillary work on the Metro III line, between 10 pm and 6 am.