Sonali Telang, The Asian Age, December 18 2017
The Mithi river at the Dharavi station site is 25 meters in width, which has been reduced to 14 meters after reclamation.
With the commencement of the construction work for the metro project in Dharavi, a part of the Mithi river has been reclaimed reducing the width of the river.
The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) had earlier maintained that the levelling work inside Mithi river is temporary to prevent river water from entering construction work. However, activists believe that the reduction in width of the river may result in flood like situation during monsoons.
When The Asian Age visited the site, the construction of a wall was underway along the 2.5 meters stretch of the river. The Mithi river at the Dharavi station site is 25 meters in width, which has been reduced to 14 meters after reclamation. “The metro station is going to take 2 years more to come up. In such a case, it could be dangerous for the area during monsoon as almost half of the river width is reclaimed at certain parts,” said Zoru Bhathena, a tree activist.
The Bombay high court had earlier allowed the axing of 108 mangroves along the Mithi stretch for BKC station while the MMRC claimed that there are no mangroves in the alignment of Dharavi metro station. “The satellite images from November 2016 show that several mangroves existed at the site last year, which has disappeared now,” added Bhathena.
“The High Court has only given the MMRC permission for cutting mangroves for BKC station. Where are the permissions related to reclamation inside the Mithi river?” asserted Debi Goenka, who heads the NGO Conservation Action Trust. Meanwhile, the MMRC maintained that has necessary permissions and is in process of chalking out a mangrove in-situ plan to compensate for the loss.