State eyeing forest land in national park for Metro car shed?
The controversy over the plot of land for the Metro 3 project inside Aarey colony just got murkier after a new disclosure that the land belongs to the state forest department.
The disclosure was made following an RTI query by the Vanashakti Sanghatana. It reveals that the land is covered by the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. The Sanghatana has now questioned the credibility of the sanction of this land for the car shed by the Dairy Development Board.
The land within Aarey that spans 276.0730 hectares belongs to the state revenue department, which permitted the setting up of the Aarey Milk Scheme in 1954. However, the revenue department handed over the plot to the forest department in 1969, which included it as part of the forest land of the SGNP. However, the land was not declared a reserved forest area at the time. In 1980, the forest department was asked to declare 1500 hectares out of the 2000 odd hectares as forest land, after deducting 575 hectares. Records now show that there is no data pertaining to the land ownership post-1980. Vanashakti project director Stalin Dayanand says that this data was not maintained in the records at all.
The land being requisitioned by the MMRC for the car shed is included in the 1500 hectares acquired by the forest department. Vanashakti has now asked the Dairy Development Board to prove its ownership of this plot of land and has questioned its authority to grant permission for the construction of the Metro car shed on this land.
With the RTI replies now submitted in court by Vanashakti, the Metro 3 project appears to have run into some more hot water.