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HC allows tunnelling work for Mumbai Metro 3 to proceed

PTI Mumbai
Updated: 30-11-2018 21:55 IST

The Bombay High Court Friday allowed digging and tunnelling work near two Parsi fire temples in south Mumbai for the third phase of the Mumbai Metro project to proceed.

The Parsi community had objected to the work on the ground that it would cause damage to the temples, which were heritage structures, and the sacred fire pits and wells therein.

A bench led by Chief Justice Naresh Patil allowed the tunnelling work to proceed after the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) assured it that no damage would be caused.

The judges refuted the petitioners' argument that the tunnelling work will cause damage to the two fire temples and thus, violate their fundamental right of freedom of religion.

The bench imposed certain restrictions to ensure that the temples were protected.

Pronouncing its verdict, the bench vacated the stay imposed in May on the tunnelling and digging work for the Metro 3 project.

The MMRC had told the court that it was incurring a loss of Rs 4 crore for every day the work was stayed.

The petitioners, representatives of the Parsi community, requested for a stay Friday, saying they were going to approach the Supreme Court against the ruling.

But the bench refused to stay its order, thus making it possible for the MMRC to resume the tunnelling work.

The high court also considered a report of experts from the government-run Veermata Jijabai Technical Institute (VJTI).

The experts, after a site inspection, stated that the work was not likely to cause any damage to the Parsi temples.

The bench directed the VJTI to continue monitoring the work at the site to ensure that the MMRC was implementing all possible safeguards to protect the temples.

It also directed the MMRC to install protective machinery during the blasting and tunnelling work.

According to the MMRC plan, the tunnels will pass directly under two fire temples, one at the Princess Street junction and another at Kalbadevi in south Mumbai.

The MMRC had told the court that following objections from the Parsi community, it had altered the alignment of the tunnels by around four metres.

In its 467-page long judgment, the bench observed that the Metro Project is crucial for solving the traffic and commuting woes faced by Mumbai residents.

"We also conclude that the petitioners have utterly failed to establish basis for assumption of existence of fundamental right under Article 25 (freedom of religion) of the Constitution of India," the bench said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)