Within a fortnight of its inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Pune Metro hit a major roadblock on Monday when the National Green Tribunal (NGT) issued an interim stay order on any kind of construction of rapid transit system passing through the Mula-Mutha river bed.
"Today NGT's west zone bench comprising Justice U D Salavi and Dr Ajay Deshpande granted interim stay on any kind of construction of Pune Metro route of corridor between Vanaz and Ramwadi, passing through Mula-Mutha riverbed," petitioner advocate Asim Sarode said.
He said that the directions have been given to add Maharashtra Metro Corporation in the array of respondents.
Sarode had filed an Environmental Interest Litigation (EIL) in the NGT on May 26 last year on behalf of a group of prominent personalities from the city.
PM Modi had recently performed the ‘bhumipoojan’ for the prestigious Pune Metro. Ramnath Subramaniam, the executive director of strategic planning of the Pune Metro Rail, said that the order will be contested and that the issue will be resolved once proper representations.
He further clarified that the order has prohibited construction only in a specific area, adding that construction work for the project has already begun in the Pimpri-Chinchwad area.
Ramnah further said that the project's team plans to do a proper study with support from the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) by the time construction reaches the Mula-Mutha riverbed in next eight to nine months.
The next NGT hearing is scheduled on January 25.
Meanwhile, the PMC, which is the primary respondents, said that during the argument the Government Resolution, passed by Maharashtra's Urban Development Department, regarding the sanctions and establishment of Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (SPV) and direction to execute the Metro work, was placed before the Tribunal.
The Tribunal mentioned that since the process of registration of the SPV is currently being carried out and thus not yet registered under Companies Act, hence the SPV cannot be made a necessary party in the present application, the civic body said in a release.
"PMC's advocate mentioned that process of registration would be completed in 15 days," it added.
It further stated that Tribunal directed PMC not to construct in the prohibited zone of 1.7 km on the left bank of the river i.e. inside the Blue Line of the river bed of Mula Mutha till January 25.
"In the mean time, work of planning, designing and approval can be processed further," said the release.
"Tribunal has not laid such restriction on presently ongoing geo-tech and topographical study being conducted on the other parts of the alignment including the river bed," it added.
A group of prominent personalities from the city have filed an EIL in the NGT against the Pune Metro Rail project, strongly objecting to the alignment of some portion of its route through river beds.
With PTI Inputs