Metro projects in the city will no longer need to get an environment clearance, with the Supreme Court (SC) dismissing the need when it stayed a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order mandating the green nod for a metro line in Noida a few weeks ago.
Authorities said this development will speed up the building of Mumbai’s metro lines — two lines between Dahisar and Andheri and one connecting Colaba- Bandra- Seepz.
The SC had dismissed the need for an environment clearance, after the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) told the court railway and metro rail projects did not fall under the purview of the 2006 Environmental Impact Assessment Notification.
“We were quite sure of the outcome, after the ministry cleared its stand. But there was a sense of uncertainty initially. Now, we do not need any approval, which means there is no hurdle for metro projects,” said a senior MMRDA official.
sources said the development is likely to not only give metro projects in the city a boost, but also impact an ongoing case in the apex court over an NGT order asking for a similar clearance for the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL), the sea bridge that will connect Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. The MMRDA had filed a plea in May this year when it found out the NGT’s order was unnecessary, according to the guidelines framed by the MoEF.
“Our counsels can now cite the recent Supreme Court stay during their deliberations in the MTHL case. We are hopeful the court will decide in our favour,” said another MMRDA official.
The NGT had also suspended a Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance for the project in October last year, citing flaws in the procedure followed by the state while seeking clearance and discrepancies in the amount of marine areas proposed to be affected by the project. MMRDA had to re-apply for a clearance and new CRZ clearance was issued in January this year.
The 22-km MTHL will connect Sewri in Mumbai to Chirle in Navi Mumbai, which will not just ease traffic snarls on the roads passing through Navi Mumbai but boost connectivity with Pune and Goa as well.