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Girgaum Christians and Parsees voices concern on Metro III

The parish priest of St Teresa’s Church, Girgaum, has filed a petition under the Right to Information, as parishioners and members of the Parsi community have voiced concerns about the construction of Metro III (Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ) project. The RTI reply states the metro project will be constructed six floors below the ground and will not affect any structures, including the church or the Parsi Fire Temple. But information about conditions and impact on the buildings has not been revealed.

Fr Anthony Fernandes, parish priest of St Teresa’s Church, had filed the RTI query to get clarity on the route, impact and effect of construction work. The parishioners were not sure if the Metro line would pass below their church building and to what extent would this affect age old structures in their vicinity.

Fr Fernandes sought information about the building survey report and details of condition of buildings depending on parameters of degree of damage. In reply, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) has furnished the pre-construction building condition survey (PCBCS) report. But information regarding degree of damage based on negligible/slight/moderate/severe/very severe has not been given. MMRC has stated this information is related to third party and cannot be shared.

Not quite satisfied with the RTI reply, parishioners have requested a dialogue with the MMRC officials. Fernandes told The Free Press Journal, “It has to be a win-win situation for both. We understand the metro line is important and will facilitate transportation but we also want proper assurance, since the structures in this area are really old. We need to be given an assurance that our lives and property are not in danger.”

MMRC claimed residents should understand the metro line will be constructed 25 metres below the ground. A senior MMRC official said, “Citizens need not worry because at such a depth no vibrations will be felt on the ground surface.” Along with parishioners, Parsi residents have joined hands to raise concerns about the project. A resident said, “I have been having sleepless nights since the construction began. I am always scared about what will happen next. We are sceptical about vibrations because heavy machinery is used and work will be conducted below our buildings underneath our homes.”

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