The ambitious Rs12,000-crore plan to build a 33.20-km coastal road from Nariman Point to Kandivli got a major boost with the centre clearing reclamation of land from the sea for the purpose.
The Union ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) on Wednesday issued the final notification in this regard for the project, which the government says will ease traffic on Mumbai’s roads. Critics have warned of environmental damage to Mumbai’s coast and questioned the huge outlay on a project that is not aimed at mass rapid transit.
However, the MoEF has not allowed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s plea to allow development on the landward side of the road. Coastal Regulation Zone rules would remain in force for the reclaimed land.
Roads on reclaimed land shall not be taken as authorisation for permitting development on the landward side, the notification said.
“Use of reclaimed land may be permitted for roads, mass rapid or multimodal transit system, construction and installation on landward side of such roads of all necessary associated public utilities and infrastructure,” the notification said. Officials were awaiting a formal copy of the notification to clarify the details and make any changes to the project plan if needed.
With the notification, the BMC, the implementing agency, will be able to start the tendering process after a month by when it will have to submit the environment impact assessment report to the state and the centre.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and environment minister Prakash Javdekar for the notification. “It’s a dream come true for Mumbaikars,” Fadnavis tweeted.
With an eye on the 2017 BMC elections the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena BJP will push to fast-track the project.
Peer review consultants were appointed by the civic body last month to study the detailed project report. Their first report is expected by February.
BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta said, “The environment impact assessment report will first be submitted in a month’s time as we already have the design and details in place and simultaneously we will work on the tendering process as well.”
The notification will be applicable for coastal roads across the country. Reclamation of land was so far permitted only for building ports and harbors, jetties and sea links, said a urban development ministry official.