Mumbai

Centre approves Maharashtra’s coastal road project

In a major decision that would have a long-term impact on Mumbai, the Maharashtra government on Monday received the environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change for the 34-km-long Mumbai Coastal Road project which will run along Mumbai’s western coast from Nariman Point in South Mumbai to Kandivali in western suburbs.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced the Central clearance for the project after a meeting with Minister of State for Environment and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar at Indira Paryavaran Bhavan in New Delhi. A beaming Mr. Fadnavis, who wants this project to be the showpiece of his ambitious Mumbai Transformation agenda, said the Central nod was the Modi government’s “best gift to Mumbai”.

Speaking to reporters later, Mr. Fadnavis said the coastal road project would help decongest Mumbai traffic while creating 91 hectares of open, green spaces, leading to Mumbai’s transformation, and taking its infrastructure to the next level. He said Mumbai’s 60 per cent traffic plies on the Western Express Highway, and the freeway project would provide a high speed alternative to commuters residing in the western suburbs.

Draft notification

Mr. Fadnavis said the draft notification for the project would be issued by June 15, and the final notification would be issued by August 15, taking off the project. Assuring that the project will not damage environment, he said the high tide line would not be breached by the project, and the road would within 300-400 metres from the coastline. Stating that the Centre had sought a commitment from his government to ensure all environment norms were followed, he said “We have agreed to furnish it. The Centre also wanted an assurance from the State regarding re-plantation of some mangrove-laden tracts and we have committed to fulfil all legal obligations in this regard.”

He indicated that the Centre had considered the possibility of modifying certain provisions of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms allowing reclamation of land along the coastline for crucial road projects in an attempt to provide fillip to Mumbai’s infrastructure. The project will also provide a cheaper alternative to sea links for decongesting vehicular traffic in Mumbai.

By getting a swifter clearance to the project in less than five months, the BJP has also tried to steal the thunder of the Shiv Sena. Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aaditya, who has been one of the supporters of the project, pointed out on twitter that the project was first proposed by the Shiv Sena-ruled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation four years ago and that the Sena MPs had staged a protest outside Parliament demanding clearances for the project last month.

“Thank you @Dev_Fadnavis ji for following up on our manifesto promise of the Coastal Road as the CM of our alliance for a better State,” he tweeted. The Shiv Sena and the BJP had fought the assembly elections independently and formed a post-poll alliance.

The Centre’s nod came two days after >Maharashtra signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Dutch government to use its expertise creating such projects during the visit of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Also read: >Mumbai will be made free of traffic jams: Fadnavis

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2020 3:19:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/centre-approves-maharashtras-coastal-road-project/article7294591.ece

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