GMLR tunnel at Mumbai’s national park: BMC wants experts to address green concerns
To address issues like environmental impact raised by activists against the underground tunnels that are part of the Goregaon Mulund Link road (GMLR) project, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is looking for contractors and consultants who will develop a suitable design for the tunnels.
A controversial part of the GMLR project are twin tunnels of 4.7km and a 4.6km that will run 20 metres and 220 metres below Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), with approach roads on either side. The GMLR project aims to improve east-west connectivity in the suburbs. After floating an expression of interest (EOI) in July, the BMC met with prospective stakeholders last week. It has received responses from firms in Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong and other places. Once appointed, stakeholders will draft the design and methodology to construct the tunnels.
Additional municipal commissioner Vijay Singhal said the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) would conduct a study on the tunnels’ environmental impact on aquifers above ground and on the Tulsi and Vihar reservoirs in the SGNP, which supply water to the city.
Rohit Shinkre, principal, Rachana Sansad Academy of Architecture, said, “Unless it has extreme public utility, we need to ask ourselves if it is worth digging through it [SGNP].” Activists have also expressed concerns about the impact on noise and air pollution since the tunnels will need ventilation shafts. Stalin Dayanand, director of Vanashakti, said, “The BMC has to ensure the vibrations of tunnel boring and the traffic in the long run do not impact the wildlife.”
“Regarding the ventilation for the tunnels…, the consultant and contractor will have to suggest ways in which this can be done without harming the environment,” said Singhal. The BMC will also carry out compensatory afforestation on 48 acres near Gadchiroli and Chandrapur, which has been identified for purchase.