Soon, Mumbai residents will be able to travel between Borivli and Thane in 10 minutes owing to an 11-km underground tunnel passing through the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP). The state wildlife board recently gave the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) permission to carry out an on-ground survey at the national park.
This development assumes significance as the Rs2,000 crore project requires several environment clearances. Environmentalists have opposed the project, saying would affect the ecological balance of the area.
“We got permission for a topographic survey, which our consultants have started. After we receive a few other permissions, we will start our geo-technical survey to study the strata. Following this, we will prepare a detailed project report ,” said a senior MSRDC official.
Proposed in August 2015, the six-lane tunnel will connect Tikuji-ni-Wadi in Thane and Ekta Nagar on the Western Express Highway in Borivli. Currently, the 23-km distance between Thane and Borivli — via Ghodbunder Road — takes almost an hour or even more, if there is a traffic jam. Around 70,000 cars travel across Ghodbunder Road daily.
Thane and Borivli are separated by a chain of hills, most of which are part of SGNP. Significantly, SGNP’s reserved forest is under threat owing to encroachments. In March last year, the high court ordered the demolition of these encroachments.