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Your wait for a shorter commute gets longer: New hurdle may delay Mumbai’s coastal road

The Maharashtra Maritime Board has sent two letters to the Mumbai civic body making recommendations, which it does not want to consider

mumbai Updated: Aug 18, 2017 09:25 IST
Tanushree Venkatraman
Tanushree Venkatraman
Hindustan Times
Mumbai’s coastal road,Mumbai commute,coastal road
The board asked the BMC to build trauma centres and search and rescue operation sections, which will provide aid in case of a disaster on the road .(HT)

A new hurdle seems to have sprung up before one of the civic body’s most ambitious infrastructure projects – the 29.2-km-long coastal road, which is proposed to connect the Princess Street flyover to Kandivli.

The Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) has sent two letters in the past two months to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), making recommendations, which the civic body does not want to consider. The board had issued a no-objection certificate (NoC) to the civic body in May 2016.

The letters, a copy of which is with HT, state that the reclaimed land for the project will belong to MMB as per the 1908 Indian Port Act, and the “the civic body has to seek its permission for any sort of development on the reclaimed land”. BMC will be reclaiming 90 hectares for the southern phase of the project and another 40 hectares for the northern phase.

In its letters, the board has said it is essential for the civic body to construct break-water (sea walls) wherever it is building a jetty. It has also asked the BMC to build trauma centres and search and rescue operation sections, which will provide aid in case of a disaster on the road which will connect south Mumbai to the western suburbs.

A break-water is an artificial off-shore created to protect the harbour from waves.

Atul Patne, chief executive officer of the MMB, said that last year, the board had only given an in-principle nod to the project. “We had given a go-ahead to the project, after which there have been changes in the alignment. The board will have to be kept in the loop about the changes.”

The May 2016 letter states that apart from the Bandra jetty alignment, MMB has no objection for the entire project.

In its reply, dated August 16, 2017, the BMC has said that MMB had not referred to any of these terms in its previous approval. It has further said that none of the suggestions can be implemented. The letter reads, “After getting all clearances, the project is in the final stages. At this juncture, your recommendations are unexpected.”

Meant to ease traffic, the coastal road is a Rs15,000-crore project, which will be a combination of under-sea tunnels, elevated roads and a road on reclaimed land. The civic body has already got an approval from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) and the Central government’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) for the project. The latter’s clearance was most significant for the project.

BMC officials said the project work will continue as the civic body will consider the first letter from MMB as the NoC. BMC has also said that since all clearances have been sought, they will not include the recommendations from the board.

A civic official, who did not wish to be named, said, “If the board had issues with the project, it should have taken it up with the BMC before or even communicated with the state government. In case of the break water recommendation, we are only creating temporary jetties to aid in construction, then why will we construct break waters. This letter is not going to delay the project.”

BMC is looking at finalising the tenders and initiating the project by the year-end. The MMB has not reacted to the BMC’s response yet.

First Published: Aug 18, 2017 09:25 IST