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Issue 6
, 2007
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Metro Go Underground: Demand RWAs

Prarthana Channa
Source: Toxics Link, Date: , 2007

Citizens of Delhi have been voicing concern over the damage that is being caused to the city trees and environment for the mega transport projects, like Metro and High Capacity Bus System. Tired of waiting on the sidelines, residents from some of the residential colonies are now organising themselves to push for a people and environment-friendly implementation of these projects.

Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) of Lajpat Nagar, Defence Colony, East of Kailash, Kailash Colony and Greater Kailash have been on a campaign mode ever since a word went around among the neighbours that the Metro link between Central Secretariat and Bardarpur border, which runs through these areas will be an overhead corridor.

What started as a small-scale whisper campaign upscaled into silent protests at traffic signals and signature campaigns. It has now moved to discussions with the State Government, including one meeting with Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). Representatives from these associations have also approached Union Minister of Urban Development Jaipal Reddy and his deputy Minister of State for Urban Development Ajay Maken. The residents have equipped themselves with information from various sources like civil society groups to international environment assessment reports on such projects.

The RWA's are demanding construction of an underground track between Jungpura to Kalkaji, a 4.4 km stretch. They say this would would keep the existing green cover intact to a large extent, avoid potential damage to the buildings and scuttle possibility of over commercialisation along the track, which they claim would change the very character of these residential areas.

The government officials claim that the comparative cost of building an underground metro is very high and would exceed budgetary limitations. Such a major shift in the project would delay the project beyond the deadline for the 2010 Common Wealth Games.