The Metro 3 project cannot seem to function without running into controversy every few days.
In the latest twist, it appears that while the project had clearance to use the road adjacent to the President Hotel in Cuffe Parade to build a Metro station, the project has commenced work on an adjacent park instead. Interestingly, the park lies in a no-development zone, according to RTI activist Zoru Bathena, who has earlier campaigned against the felling of trees in the city to make way for the Metro 3 project.
Sources say that the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) had requested the state government as well as the BMC for permission to commence construction in the park adjoining the President Hotel. However, since the location falls under the Coastal Regulation Zone area (CRZ) and is earmarked as a no development area, permission was not granted. Instead, the MMRC was asked to commence construction on the road next to the President Hotel. However, the MMRC appears to have disregarded the orders, and has already cut down trees in the park and commenced construction. Bathena told Mumbai Live that he has all the requisite proofs and documents that he will soon present in court.
However, MMRC executive director (planning) R Ramanna has denied all the allegations, claiming that all necessary permissions are in place and that the area does not fall in the CRZ. He said that permissions have been obtained from both the BMC and the district collector for construction on the road as well as the park.
The tug of war between the MMRC and the Save Tree Foundation is now likely to intensify with both parties insisting that they are right.