A panel formed by the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra has recommended lifting the stay on the construction of metro carshed in Aarey Milk Colony, a green belt in suburban Mumbai, sources said.
The four-member panel, set up by the Shiv Sena-led government last month, submitted its report, in which it has recommended lifting the two-month-old stay, to the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) on Tuesday, they said.
However, Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray said the report is yet to be studied and that it is "not binding" on the government to accept the recommendation.
On the other hand, BJP leader and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, during whose tenure work on the carshed started, pitched for accepting the recommendation.
Fadnavis, now Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, cited loss of nearly Rs 5 crore per day to the government following the stay.
"Though the report has been submitted to the CMO, it is not binding (to be accepted by the government). Whatever decision, it will be taken after studying the report," Aaditya Thackeray told reporters in Navi Mumbai.
He said the government will take steps keeping in mind sustainable development.
"He (Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray) will be going through it. It will be studied in detail. All officials and consultants will be heard (before a decision is made)," he added.
Aaditya Thackeray, however, said the chief minister is "pro-development and pro-environment".
Fadnavis told reporters in New Delhi, "The government should immediately lift the stay if a recommendation has been made that the carshed be constructed there (in Aarey Milk Colony).
"Each day's delay is causing a loss of nearly Rs 5 crore. The government should accept the report," he said.
Asked about Fadnavis's demand, Aaditya Thackeray said the BJP leader can raise such issues, but the government will have to keep in mind that environment and Mumbaikars are not adversely affected due to its decisions.
Felling of trees during night to clear the way for construction of the carshed, part of Metro 3 line, last year had invited the ire of environmentalists, while Aaditya Thackeray, too, had objected to the move.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had stayed the carshed work in late November last year, a day after assuming office.
It was one of the first decisions taken by the Sena- led government, in which the Congress-NCP, who had criticised felling of trees for the depot, are also partners.
Environmentalists and citizen groups have for long opposed construction of the carshed in Mumbai's sprawling green lung in suburban Goregaon.
Meanwhile, the junior Thackeray witnessed the "breakthrough" of package-3 at Worli on the corridor that includes stations like Mumbai Central, Mahalaxmi, Science Museum, Acharya Atre Chowk and Worli.
"Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro-3 corridor is one of the most crucial projects that will rid Mumbaikars of their commuting woes and we are committed to complete it as scheduled," Aaditya Thackeray said.
TANSA-1, the tunnel boring machine (TBM), was commissioned on September 27, 2018, from northern end of Science Museum station for upline.
The TBM has completed its 2,073-meter drive within a period of a mere 16 months to see the light with 1381 number of RCC cement rings overcoming many geological challenges, Mumbai Metro Rail Corp (MMRC) said in a statement.
"I am glad to note the progress of around 78 per cent of tunnelling and more than 50 per cent of overall construction on the project till date. I am sure MMRC will continue with the same zeal and speed," the environment minister added.
In all, 17 tunnel boring machines are at work on the 33.5-km long corridor.
Commenting on the 25th breakthrough, new MMRC managing director Ranjit Singh Deol said, "Our team of experts and engineers has completed this challenging work smoothly.
"Package-3 encompasses major business centres which are presently not connected with suburban rail network. Once operational, this line will be a major boost for the commuters who visit these areas on a regular basis."