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Parsi community gets partial relief; metro station to shift away from fire temple

In a partial relief for the Parsi community, the Metro Rail Authority on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it will shift the Kalbadevi Metro III station 20 metres away from the nearest boundary wall of the Wadia Atash Behram (Fire Temple).

Manthank Mehta | Times of India

MumbaiWadiaji

The Atash Behram situated at the Princess Street junction in south Mumbai, is one of the eight in India, and was consecrated in 1830.

The earlier location of the station box was very close to the fire temple with an overlap of 2 metres. Last year, some community members led by structural engineer Jamshed Sukhadwalla had dragged the metro rail to court, opposing its plan to dig a tunnel underneath the temple.

However, the court had permitted the metro to take the tunnel up to 3.5 metres inside the premises. The court directed it to take precautionary measures to ensure the structure would not disturbed.

“I am pleased at the stand taken by MMRC to reduce the entry-exit box at the south end of the metro station. The problems created by some of our High Priests in November 2017 have now been set right,” the main petitioner Jamshed Sukhadwalla said on Monday.

In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) stated, “Taking into consideration the non-availability of some of the private land pockets, the excavation box A of Kalbadevi station has been shortened by approximately 22 meters. As a result, the box is now 19.8 meters away from the nearest boundary of the Wadia Atash Behram from the earlier distance of 2.2 meters overlap and temporary secant pile is now 18.3 meters away from the nearest boundary of Wadia Atash Behram.”

The affidavit further stated, “This has resulted in changes in further internal planning the space. The NATM part and platform locations have been modified accordingly by shifting them northwards suitably. The back of house facilities earlier proposed in Box A are now accommodated at lower/platform level will have to be built as per NATM works.”

According to the report on the Method of Construction of Kalbadevi Station near the Wadiaji Atash Behram placed before the supreme court, the MMRCL said “Preference will be given to mechanical breaking of rock. However, if unavoidable, controlled blasting will be resorted to.”

The report has been prepared by Maple-led consortium, who the general consultant for Metro Line 3.

On the water levels in Wadia Atash Behram, the report said, “In case of any construction related draw down of water levels in the well is observed, recharge of ground water shall be initiated through the six number of recharge wells in the vicinity of Wadia Atash Behram”.

On Monday, senior advocate Fali Nariman and Zerick Dastur appeared for the petitioners in the apex court.