After the Congress-NCP government spent three years vacillating between sea links and the coastal road for the city, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has decided to back the latter.
Fadnavis, much like his predecessor, Prithviraj Chavan, is of the opinion that a coastal road is a much more cost-effective and environment friendly option to the sea links.
He has asked the civic body to submit a status report on the project by Monday, following which it is slated to be forwarded to the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) for clearance.
“It has been decided that sea links should be put on hold because they are not cost viable. With the Union environment ministry willing to cooperate, we can overcome the coastal regulatory zone hurdle,” said an official from the urban development department.
The primary reason for the project to get stalled so far was the necessity of land to be reclaimed from the sea. This is prohibited as per the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification of 2011.
However, the chief minister’s office plans to pitch from a special dispensation for the coastal road, pointing to two things: cost effectiveness (it will cost one-sixth the cost of sea links) and the opportunity to create green spaces (75 hectares of open spaces is envisaged) along the road.
It remains to be seen if the CRZ norms can be bypassed to clear the reclamation. As of now, the 2011 notification would need an amendment.
The new government is toying with the idea of seeking an amendment for all key infrastructure projects that need minimal reclamation.
The state coastal body has already given its recommendation to the Centre for the project.
Like earlier, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) would continue to be the nodal authority for the project, though it is likely that a state agency gets to partner with the BMC for the actual implementation, said officials.