Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday announced the 35.6-km coastal road on Mumbai’s western waterfront will be built in three years. However, experts said going by past examples, the three-year deadline is not workable.
“Is the chief minister not aware of how many years it took to build the Bandra-Worli sea link? Even small infrastructure projects take up to five years to complete,” said AV Shenoy a transport expert, adding there should be a white paper on how the state plans to build the project in three years.
Jitendra Gupta, another transport expert, said, “On paper, the plan seems possible, but past examples indicate otherwise. If the authorities want to construct the coastal road in three years, they will have to ensure the work is not hindered because of issues such as agitation or delays in clearances.”
The state authorities took eight years to complete work on the 5.6km Bandra-Worli sea link and more than 10 years to construct the 6.5-km Santacruz-Chembur Link Road. Lack of planning and other issues including rehabilitation of the project-hit and delays in getting clearances were cited as reasons for these projects not being completed as per their deadline.
The civic body is set to get the permissions to facilitate the tendering process. Sanjay Mukherjee, additional municipal commissioner, said, “We will send a detailed project report on the coastal road to the Centre for its approval. It will also be sent to the State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority. Tenders will be invited accordingly.”
Environmentalists, however, fear the coastal road project – from Nariman Point to Western Express Highway, Kandivli – could have a negative impact on marine ecology.
Rishi Agarwal, an environmentalist said, “It is ridiculous to spend Rs 10,000 crore on a road that will cater to a few people and destroy the mangroves and biodiversity along the coast.”
Manish Sethi, another environmentalist, said, “The road seems like it will help decongest the city, but authorities should take proper measures to ensure the environment is not at the receiving end.”