In a decision that will help make commute between Mumbai and Navi Mumbai faster, the Union environment ministry’s experts appraisal committee (EAC) has given an in-principle approval to the eastern water transport project.
The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), which is the implementing agency for the project, had chosen three locations — Ferry Wharf, Nerul and Mandwa — for the construction of ferry terminals to facilitate water transport.
As all three terminals fall in the coastal regulation zone (CRZ), the MSRDC had approached the ministry for environmental clearance.
The ministry had asked the MSRDC for solutions to certain environmental issues arising from the project, and a few days ago, the agency had presented its solutions to the EAC.
“Ministry officials wanted measures taken to mitigate the negative impact on environment and wanted proper compensation for project affected people,” said a senior MSRDC official, requesting anonymity.
“The officials have approved the solutions we suggested, and we expect the final approval letter to be issued by the ministry in a month or two,” he said.
The MSRDC has already received green clearance for the western water transport project, which will make commute between the western suburbs and the island city more efficient.
There are six terminals planned for this project, at Nariman Point, Bandra, Juhu, Versova, Marve and Borivli.
The MSRDC has already awarded contracts to private players for the construction f all nine jetties for both the eastern and western water transport projects.
However, it cannot issue a work order to commence construction since the projects are still awaiting approval from the state’s subcommittee on infrastructure.
“We have got the ministry’s approval for the western coast terminals. We will soon receive the final approval letter for terminals on the eastern coast. However, we have to get a go-ahead from the state committee to be able to start construction,” the official said.
Once the MSRDC gets the final nod, the nine terminals are expected to be constructed in 18 months at an estimated cost of Rs1,300 crore. Private players will then be invited to operate hovercraft, catamarans and Ro-Ro vessels on a public- private partnership model.