In a bid to give Mumbai's planned coastal road project a decisive push, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has written to the Union environment and forests minister Prakash Javadekar, asking him to make a special case for the project.
In a letter sent on Monday, the chief minister’s office (CMO) sought an amendment to the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) notification 2011, to allow for the reclamation of land for a coastal road. The 35.6-km coastal road from Nariman Point to Kandivli was the pet project of former CM Prithviraj Chavan, who failed to get it off the ground due to environmental hurdles.
HT had reported last week that Fadnavis is keen on the coastal road project as a cost-effective and environment-friendly option for the city. For the past three years, the earlier government had vacillated between two options – sea links and the coastal road.
The CRZ notification states that land reclamation is not allowed except for “construction or modernisation or expansion of foreshore facilities like ports, jetties, wharves, quays, slipways, bridges, sea links, roads on stilts.” The letter from the CMO has requested the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to include the coastal road in this list of permitted exceptions. It has argued the coastal road project will allow citizens to save time and also reduce fuel costs, besides giving Mumbai the much-needed opportunity to create open and green spaces.
The cost of the coastal road has been estimated at Rs60-100 crore per km, whereas that of a sea link would be around Rs600 crore for every kilometre, going by the costs incurred while constructing the Bandra Worli sea link. “The coastal road project is much more environment-friendly, compared to a series of sea links. The detailed project report is also ready and has been submitted to the MoEF along with the letter,” said an official from CMO.
The coastal road could have an adverse impact on tidal circulation, reclamation of mangroves, and lead to coastal erosion. Officials, however, pointed out that sea links would also have an adverse environmental impact.