Centre to give nod to trans-harbour link
The NGT had stayed the clearance stating that the proper procedure was not followed by the MCZMA and the MOEF while granting clearance earlier in 2013.Updated: Jan 07, 2016 01:22 IST
The decks may have finally cleared for the 22-km Mumbai trans-harbour link. The Centre is set to grant final approval to the sea bridge overruling the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order that had set aside its prior coastal clearance of 2013.
An NGT order in October this year had put a new hurdle before the sea link that has been on the drawing board for the past 25 years. (see box). Now, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) is likely to issue an order granting a go-ahead to the project.
“The expert appraisal committee of the Centre has appraised the project and made a recommendation to grant a go-ahead. The ministry will issue a notification soon,’’ said chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Sources told HT the Centre gave a promise for the go-ahead after a delegation of state officials, led by Fadnavis, made a strong pitch before environment ministry officials recently, promising that the state government would take the responsibility of protecting the marine environment while constructing the project. The project has been scrutinised once again by both the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) and the Centre’s expert appraisal committee on infrastructure and CRZ-related projects.
The NGT had stayed the clearance stating that the proper procedure was not followed by the MCZMA and the MOEF while granting clearance earlier in 2013. It had also asked the Centre to re-examine the impact of the sea link on the mangroves ecosystem, habitat of flamingos and mudflats.
Soon after the NGT order, the MCZMA had scrutinised the project once again and given it a positive recommendation. In a meeting held on December 22-23, the Centre’s expert appraisal committee also reviewed the project, asking the implementing agency Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to rework its Rs320 crore environment management plan with greater emphasis on environment management, disaster management and rehabilitation.
“We submitted our new plan, which has been reviewed already by the committee. The committee is expected to recommend this plan to the ministry,’’ said a senior MMRDA official.
The Ministry is likely to state that the sea bridge need not be reviewed under the Environment Impact Assessment notification
The NGT had asked the ministry to check if this notification is applicable to the project. If it is, the project will have to get appraised by two separate committees besides a public consultation.