Development at what cost? MMRC’s Metro project puts Bhoye family’s livelihood in danger in Aarey

On one hand, 72-year-old Budhya Bhoye claims that the work which is underway on his land is illegal and on the other hand, MMRC officials claim that the work they are doing is completely within the parameters of the law.

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Mumbai is a metropolitan city and just like every metropolitan city, Mumbai also needs means of transport for accommodating the citizens. For several years, Railways had been left with the responsibility to connect the city but with the growing population, the city did need another viable option and thus, came the Metro Rail. 

Eventually, Metro Rail succeeded in being a possible mode of transport as the citizens welcomed it. However, development does come at a cost. It actually did cost a lot to 72-year-old Budhya Bhoye and his family, who reside in Aarey Colony’s Prajapur Pada, which is majorly a residence to tribal communities. The Bhoye family has been residing here for years and are farmers by profession who have or rather had a 20-acre farm which was the sole source of their livelihood. 

However, thanks to Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC), the Bhoye family now cannot access their own farm. Since the last week, MMRC has been working on the farmland and has put up steel nets due to which, Bhoye and his family members cannot reach their farms. 

Earlier, they had denied giving the land to MMRC for the construction of its project and had approached the Bombay High Court where the case is still pending. However, the Metro corporation having disregarded the court’s order and have begun construction of the Metro-3 Rail project. The Bhoye family along with NGO Vanashakti and Save Aarey Institute told Mumbai Live that the ongoing construction by MMRC is illegal. Accordingly, Bhoye plans to approach the court and demand his right.

According to the standard procedure, once the land is taken in by MMRC for the construction of the Metro project, the owner of the land is rehabilitated to another place. However, several tribal groups refused the rehabilitation, stating that they have lived there for years and the land belonged to them for generations. Similarly, Bhoye and a group of five farmers had filed a case in the court and refused to hand over the land. Accordingly, the court had strictly ordered the officials that the land of these people must not be taken by the officials. 

However, despite orders from the court, the contractor put up the steel nets in front the farm and blocked their way. Bhoye’s daughter-in-law Asha Bhoye said that they told the contractor that he was not supposed to commence any work. However, the contractor had put up the barriers due to which, Bhoye had presumed that they had already started the construction work. 

Also Read: Metro-3 Car Shed: Contempt Petition Filed With National Green Tribunal Against MMRC 

Despite the fact that it has been forbidden by the Green Arbitration to work in Aarey Colony, MMRC has continued to do as it wishes due to which, Vanashakti NGO and Save Aarey Institute have been actively opposing the misdeed by the corporation. 

On the other hand, when Mumbai Live contacted MMRC, the officials stated that the construction work is undertaken keeping in mind the parameters of the law and all the necessary steps have been followed. However, Bhoye family stated that the officials are blatantly telling lies and have now said that they expect the court to provide them with justice.

The next hearing for the case has been scheduled on September 24, where both the parties are expected to present their side of the story.

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