Friday may turn out to be a make or break day for a slew of infrastructure projects in the city, including the state government's ambitious coastal road plan.
The Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh visit to Mumbai on Friday is thus being keenly watched and the state government will be pitching hard to get environmental clearance for its projects, which will go a long way in improving city's infrastructure, besides saving government's money.
Ramesh will also evaluate the Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd Metro line and sand mining activity in Maharashtra during his visit.
Bureaucrats headed by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan will brief Ramesh at Sahyadri to seek his approval for the construction of coastal roads in the city. The state government earlier this year had decided to consider the option of building cheaper coastal roads, instead of sea links, which are constructed at a humungous cost of Rs10,000 crore.
The state has been so gung-ho about coastal road plans that it has directed the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) to scrap the 4.3-km Peddar Road flyover, which has been mired in controversies since its inception, and instead build a 1-km car-deck or small version of the flyover on a part of the original flyover route.
The state government has already built the Bandra-Worli Sea Link.
It wanted to build three more sea links between Versova and Nariman Point - Versova-Bandra, Worli-Haji Ali and Haji Ali-Nariman Point.
The state has already awarded the tender for building the Worli-Haji Ali sea link to Reliance Infrastructure.
The new coastal regulatory zones have considerably eased regulations on building coastal roads. With the passage of new laws, the state government is now hoping that it can build cost-effective coastal roads by reclaiming land instead of building capital-intensive sea links.
The proposal, however, needs clearance under the new the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) notification.
The law is still ambiguous over allowing reclamation of sea to build such a project.
The Maharashtra Coastal Zonal Management Authority had categorically stated that coastal road on reclaimed land could not be permitted, however as the project was vital for Mumbai, it would forward the proposal to the Centre for clearance.
After looking at the feasibility of the proposed projects, Ramesh is likely announce whether the coastal road project can go ahead or not.
"The project is important to the city. It will also help in saving crores of taxpayers' money. We are hopeful that the Centre will give its nod to the project," a senior state government official said.