The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which is building the coastal road along the city’s coast, has finally deposited Rs. 25 crore for environmental conservation after a delay of six months. The civic body had to pay 2% (Rs. 254 crore) of the total cost of the project (Rs. 12,721 crore) to the Mangrove Foundation before work on coastal road began in December 2018, according to the environment clearance given for the project in May 2017 by the Union Environment Ministry. But, BMC complied with the order only in June this year. The Mangrove Foundation said they received the first tranche from BMC. “Funds will be used to study and document marine biodiversity in the project area among other coastal zones in MMR,” said N Vasudevan, executive director of the foundation and additional principal chief conservator of forest, state mangrove cell. The 9.9-km long coastal road aims to cut short travel time between south Mumbai and western suburbs by 70%.BMC officials said they paid Rs. 25 crore to the Mangrove Foundation of Maharashtra, an autonomous society that assists the state government in marine conservation. “All recommendations mentioned by the Centre under the EC for this project will be complied with. BMC will pay the entire amount in installations. The first installment has been released, and others will also be released at the earliest, phase-wise,” said Mohan Machiwala, chief engineer for the coastal road project, BMC. “We have asked the Mangrove Foundation to use the funds for protection and conservation of marine biodiversity along the entire coast of Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).” The move comes a day after HT reported that eight coral species were under threat from reclamation in the project zone. “The project construction is likely to cause large scale sedimentation and high turbidity along the coast, which could destroy small and immobile organisms especially corals, bivalves and crustaceans. Funds for rehabilitation, translocation or general protection of the marine biodiversity are essential,” said E Vivekanandan, former principal scientist and current national consultant, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute.“Our primary aim as of now is to study the coral biodiversity and Indian Ocean humpback dolphin movement along the south Mumbai coast, and initiate rehabilitation measures,” said Vasudevan.