The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) today approached the Bombay High Court seeking an urgent hearing on a plea filed by the Parsi community in the city opposing the alignment of the Mumbai Metro III project. The MMRC told a bench of Justices AS Oka and RI Chagla that its tunnelling and drilling work for the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz route would reach upto the site of two of the Parsi fire temples in the city in about 25 days from now. The community has been opposing such tunnelling work alleging that the same might cause severe damage to the temples.
In May this year, several members of the community and some high priests from two Parsi temples had approached a vacation bench of the HC opposing the drilling work for two tunnels for the metro III line. The petitioners told the HC that the MMRC was making two tunnels near Azad Maidan as part of the work on the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro III corridor.
As per the present plan of MMRC, these tunnels will pass directly under two fire temples and Atash Behrams (sacred fires), one at the junction of Princess Street, and another at Kalbadevi in South Mumbai, both heritage sites. The petitioners said the proposed work, in its current form, will lead to desecration of the holy fires, threaten the structural safety of the temple buildings, both of which are heritage structures, and that the wells at the temples might run dry because of the tunnelling work.
The MMRC, however, had denied that it’s work would cause any damage to the temples. The bench led by Justice Oka has now scheduled the hearing on the pleas for July 17 this year. It also granted a week’s time to the MMRC to file an affidavit clearing its stand on the issue.