Taking a step towards making the Rs. 8,000-crore coastal ring road project a reality, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has invited proposals from firms for feasibility studies, environmental impact studies and a detailed project report.
The 36.5-km long coastal freeway will be constructed along the city’s west coast to reduce vehicular congestion on roads and cater to the growing number of vehicles being added to the city.
A joint technical committee, appointed by the state government, was set up in June 2011 to study construction options and propose a technical plan for the project.
Then municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar, who chaired the committee, had been pushing for the project being taken up by the BMC. The state government is yet to issue directions on whether construction would be undertaken by the BMC or other state government agencies such as MMRDA or MSRDC, or if it will be a joint effort by the civic body and state government.
“We have proposed to appoint consultants to obtain required environmental clearances. The environmental impact on vast tracts of mangroves that would have to be reclaimed as part of the project needs to be studied,” said a senior civic official from the civic roads department.
The firm, which would be appointed to prepare a feasibility report, will also have to prepare an environment report needed to obtain clearance from the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF).
The project, regarded as chief minister Prithviraj Chavan's favourite, has been stuck as MoEF has refused to make an exception for it unless a detailed project report is submitted. Chavan had written to Union environment minister, Jayanthi Natarajan, to allow reclamation for the coastal road project, which is not permissible in the existing norms.
Environmentalists have raised several concerns as there are likely to be grave environmental implications such as an impact on tidal circulation and coastal erosion that would arise with reclamation in the sea.