Though the Rs8,000crore coastal road project, which will connect the western suburbs to South Mumbai, has received an approval from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority, it will be at least three more years before construction starts.
By 2015, a final construction blueprint is expected to be ready, including an environmental clearance from the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF). Tenders to appoint an agency to undertake the construction of the project would be invited only after that.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is at present scrutinising proposals from four consortia of firms to conduct detailed engineering, environmental and social impact assessment studies, and obtain an environmental clearance from the MoEF.
“There are four agencies, including international firms, that have submitted proposals to undertake the necessary studies. We are in the process of scrutinising them,” said SVR Srinivas, additional municipal commissioner.
The firm selected after scrutiny will conduct a wide range of environmental, ecological and traffic assessment studies to finalise an alignment option and prepare a detailed project report and a proposal to the MoEF — all within eight months.
In the next seven months, the preliminary bid documents, and draft agreements to appoint a contractor for the project, would have to be finalised.
Though these deadlines have been set, the environmental clearance that has to be obtained from the MoEF remains an uncertainty.
Environmental experts and activists have raised many concerns on the impact of the reclamation and construction on mangrove land for the road, which would also include bridges, elevated road stretches, stilts and tunnels.
Bathymetric survey, arranging for public consultation to engage public views and screening the social impact including possible community severance are some of the other key aspects of the scope of various reports that the selected consortium is expected to submit.