The Bombay High Court, on July 18, 2018, said it was not inclined to allow the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) to carry out construction for the Metro-III line in south Mumbai’s Cuffe Parade area at night, until the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) submits a report on noise pollution. The HC directed the MPCB to record ambient noise levels in the area both, during the day and night and submit a report on August 2, 2018. “Till the report is submitted, we propose to continue the previous order, prohibiting the MMRCL from carrying out work at night,” a division bench of justices AS Oka and Riyaz Chagla said.
The court was hearing an application by the MMRCL, seeking modification of the prohibition order, passed when local residents complained of noise pollution. MMRCL and the contractor Larsen & Toubro, had claimed that the ambient noise level at Cuffe Parade was 80 decibels during the day and 61 at night. “The metro work will only exceed ten decibels, above the already existing noise levels,” L&T counsel SU Kamdar had said. MMRCL counsel Ashutosh Kumbhkoni had argued that the Noise Pollution Rules 2000, would not apply to the metro work.
The bench, however, rejected the argument. “We are of prima facie view that the rules would apply. However, we propose to hold that we will have to draw a balance between the fundamental rights of citizens to a pollution-free environment and larger public interest,” justice Oka said. The court said it would pass an order on the application, on July 19, 2018. The 33-km Colaba–Bandra-SEEPZ Metro line III, will connect Cuffe Parade with SEEPZ in north-central Mumbai.