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Wednesday, Jan 22, 2020
Home / Cities / ‘Four months behind schedule, but work on coastal road will catch up soon’

‘Four months behind schedule, but work on coastal road will catch up soon’

cities Updated: Jan 16, 2020 23:30 IST
Mehul R Thakkar
Mehul R Thakkar
Hindustantimes
         

Nearly a month after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) got relief from the Supreme Court (SC) to resume construction of the 9-km phase-1 of coastal road between Princess Street Flyover and Worli, additional municipal commissioner Vijay Singhal said they are running four months behind schedule owing to the stay, but hope to speed up.

The construction was put on hold in July 2019 after the Bombay high court (HC) stayed it asking for environment clearance. However, the BMC challenged the move in the Supreme Court, which stayed the HC order last month. The BMC said the deadline has been pushed ahead to 2023, instead of the earlier 2022, owing to the six-month stay.

Excerpts:

What is the status of construction of the coastal road project?
At least 80% of the shifting of machinery has been completed and the work is on in full swing. We are running behind schedule by around three-four months owing to which the deadline of December 2022 may not be met. We are trying to keep pace.

What happens to the environmental concerns? Will the BMC be able to convince the Supreme Court that the project will not damage the environment?

The stay on construction is not in force now, and we will be able to convince the court during the next hearing. There is no merit when one says we have not got all permissions. The question on reclamation should not arise because it happens across the world. We also have towns constructed on reclaimed land.

Has the BMC shelved the plan for a coastal road between Versova and Kandivli?

Our role for now is to construct the coastal road only till Worli. The remaining work is with the MSRDC and MMRDA. Also, if the state gives anything more to the BMC at a later stage, it can be taken up.

Are there any plans to build a Metro as part of coastal road?

Currently, there are no such plans, but it can be done, if need arises in the future. A Metro corridor is already being constructed between south Mumbai and the suburbs.

Of the 90 hectares that will be reclaimed for coastal road, around 70 hectares have been marked as green zone. Will the land be opened up for construction in the future?

It can’t happen. We have given various affidavits to government agencies, while seeking nod from the coastal authority, that the green patch will not be touched for development even in the future.

It is said that the BMC, after funding big-ticket projects such as the coastal road and Goregaon-Mulund link road, will struggle with finances. Will further road projects be taken up by on a public-private-partnership (PPP) model?

I don’t think there will be a financial crunch for the BMC. There is no such thing [the PPP model] on the cards for now. However, it can be done, but the BMC does not get involved in it as road projects involve toll collection.