In a major boost for the proposed Versova-Bandra Sea Link (VBSL) project, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) secured environment clearance from the state environment department. With almost all the clearances in place, the state intends to complete the project — part of the ambitious coastal road project between Nariman Point and Kandivli — by 2020.
The MSRDC has already secured the coastal regulatory zone (CRZ) clearance from the central agencies for the 9.5km sea link. After the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ruled the need for the environment nod for the state environment department, the MSRDC had approach the department concerned.
“Last week, we got clearance from the state environment department and it is assumed to be a big boost for the project. We already have the CRZ clearance, which is valid till 2019,” said Kiran Kurundkar, joint managing director (finance), MSRDC.
The Rs7,500-crore sea link is part of the ambitious coastal road project that will link Nariman Point and the northern suburbs. The proposed sea link will begin from the Bandra-end of the 5.6km Bandra-Worli Sea Link (BWSL).
A senior MSRDC official added that the MSRDC had submitted a detailed list of mitigation measures to the State Environment Impact Assessment Committee of the state government following which the clearance was issued last week.
“These mitigation measures include following norms of air, water and noise pollution along with tree plantation in accordance to the environment protection act,” the official added.
Kurundkar said that now the next crucial step is to secure forest clearance for the three landing sites on the sea link. “We now need clearance from the forest department as there are mangroves at the three sites where the bridge lands: Otter’s Club in Bandra, Nana-Nani Park at Seven Bungalows in Andheri, and Juhu koliwada,” he said.
The sea link was part of the Western Freeway project that envisaged construction of sea links and a tunnel from Priyadarshini Park, Napeansea Road, to Marine Drive. The project was later dropped and instead, the coastal road was taken up by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Following critical environmental issues, the state government decided to revive the VBSL. The MSRDC has invited requests for qualification (RfQ) and intend to complete the project by 2020.
Kurundkar added that they do not plan to engage multilateral agencies to fund the eight-lane sea link. He said the MSRDC will raise finance through domestic funding agencies or nationalised banks.