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Mumbai’s coastal road projects jammed after court dismisses environmental nod



Mumbai’s coastal road projects jammed after court dismisses environmental nod

In a major setback for the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation), the Bombay high court struck down the Coastal Regulation Zone clearance for Rs 14000 crore Coastal Road which happens to be a part of the Eastern Freeway. It is to be constructed in order to provide an alternate speedy connect between western suburbs and south Mumbai.

The division bench consisting of Justice Nitin Jamdar and Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog struck down the CRZ clearance for the civic project mainly on the ground that it was granted without conducting a proper scientific study. The deficiency was overlooked by the Ministry of Environmental and Forests and the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority.

CRZ was recommended by MCZMA for approving Coastal Road on 4 January 2017. The final approval was received from the environment ministry on 11 May 2017.

Another important reason for striking down the CRZ clearance was the failure to take into consideration the impact of the metro rail network being constructed across the city. The bench said:

“The impact of the metro of being able to transport commuters was extremely necessary and important keeping in mind that the reclamation of land to construct a coastal road is permitted only in an exceptional case.”

The bench also rejected BMC’s stand that no environmental clearance is required for the project. It is claimed by the civic body that the coastal road was an exempted activity and therefore, no prior environmental clearance is required for the Rs 14000Cr project.

The bench held that environmental clearance was required for the coastal road mainly because 70 of the 90 hectares land to be reclaimed for the project has been proposed to be used for recreational purposes. This includes open green spaces, cycling, parks, jogging tracks, bus depots and parking lots.

The bench said:

“Sheer volume of the area, which is 90 hectare, would require the project activity to be treated as an area development project.”

All area development projects are known to be covered by the environmental impact assessment notification of 2011. Thus, it requires prior environmental clearance.



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