Mumbai Coastal Road: SC stays Bombay HC order, allows civic body to reclaim land


The SC has allowed the Mumbai civic body to reclaim land for the Coastal Road project but said that the authorities cannot undertake any development, till the court passes further orders

Providing relief to the Maharashtra government, the Supreme Court, on December 17, 2019, stayed the Bombay High Court order that quashed the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances granted to the city civic body’s ambitious Rs 14,000-crore Coastal Road project. A bench of chief justice SA Bobde and justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant said, “We are of the considered opinion that the order of the Bombay High Court, dated July 16, should be stayed till further orders.” It said that the respondents, including the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, can reclaim and secure the land meant for the eight lane 29.2 km-long road project but cannot develop it till further orders of the court.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the civic body, said that they had the CRZ clearances but did not have environmental clearances, as it was not a national highway. “There is no need for any clearances. According to the notification of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), the roads do not need any clearances but highways have to get such environmental clearances. Mumbai needs roads. This road is within Mumbai,” he said. Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioners said: “We have to protect the coastal areas of the country. Its degradation cannot be allowed. They have been reclaiming land and pouring concrete into the ocean. This court had earlier even refused to grant interim stay of the judgement of the high court.” The bench, however, said it would stay the high court verdict and hear the matter in the month of March 2020.

(With inputs from PTI)

 


Mumbai Coastal Road: SC to hear pleas against quashing of CRZ clearances, after Diwali

The SC has said that it will hear the pleas challenging the quashing of CRZ clearances granted to the Mumbai Coastal Road Project, after Diwali

October 24, 2019: The Supreme Court, on October 23, 2019, said that it will hear after the Diwali vacation, the pleas challenging the Bombay High Court order, which had quashed the CRZ clearances granted to the Rs 14,000-crore Coastal Road project in Mumbai. A bench headed by chief justice Ranjan Gogoi said the petition would be listed for hearing, before a bench headed by justice SA Bobde, on reopening of the court after Diwali vacations.

Solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, sought an interim order from the apex court, for resuming the stalled coastal road project in Mumbai. He said the 30-km-long coastal road project had started in 2018 and it has to meet the deadline of 2022 for completing it and the civic body and others be allowed to resume the work at their own peril. The bench, which also comprised justices SA Bobde and SA Nazeer, however, declined to stay the Bombay HC order and said the petitions will be heard later, after the Diwali break.

(With inputs from PTI)

 


Mumbai Coastal Road project: SC to hear pleas against quashing of CRZ clearances

With hearings in the Ayodhya case drawing to a close, the Supreme Court bench has agreed to hear pleas against the Bombay HC verdict that quashed the CRZ clearances for the Mumbai Coastal Road project

October 22, 2019: The Supreme Court has agreed to hear, on October 25, 2019, the appeals challenging the Bombay High Court verdict, which had quashed the CRZ clearances granted to the Mumbai civic body’s ambitious Rs 14,000-crore Coastal Road project. A bench comprising chief justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices SA Bobde and SA Nazeer, was told by solicitor general Tushar Mehta on October 21, 2019 that the matter, which was last heard in July 2019, required an urgent hearing.

Mehta, appearing for Mumbai’s civic body, said as the court was busy with the Ayodhya matter, this case could not be taken up on August 20, 2019, as assured and it may now be listed for hearing. “We are still busy. We can transfer this to some other bench,” the court said. The solicitor general, however, insisted that as this bench was aware of the facts, so, the appeal may be heard by it only. “All right, we will see,” the bench said.

It had said earlier that it would hear, on August 20, 2019, the appeals in which had sought an interim stay on the high court’s verdict quashing the CRZ clearances the Mumbai’s coastal road project. The bench was hearing the appeals filed by Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, Larsen and Toubro Ltd and HCC-HDC JV. The municipal corporation had submitted that CRZ clearance was granted on the undisputed land and the HC’s order be stayed. However, the apex court had said that it will hear the parties concerned first, on the pleas.

(With inputs from PTI)

 


Mumbai Coastal Road: SC to hear pleas against the quashing of CRZ clearances, on August 20, 2019

The Supreme Court has said that it will hear pleas, against the Bombay HC order that quashed CRZ clearances to the Mumbai Coastal Road Project, on August 20, 2019

July 29, 2019: The Supreme Court has said that it will hear, on August 20, 2019, a batch of petitions seeking a stay on the Bombay High Court verdict quashing the CRZ clearances granted to the Mumbai civic body’s ambitious Rs 14,000-crore Coastal Road project. The apex court sought a response from the fishermen’s association, activists and residents, on whose petitions the high court, on July 16, 2019, quashed the CRZ (Coastal Regulation Zone) clearances. “Notice on interim relief. The matter to be heard on August 20,” said a bench comprising chief justice Ranjan Gogoi and justice Deepak Gupta, on July 26, 2019.

See also: Government conducting study, to ascertain feasibility of bullet train networks in other cities

The bench was hearing the appeals filed by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, Larsen and Toubro Ltd and HCC HDC JV. Solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Municipal Corporation, submitted that CRZ clearance was granted on the undisputed land. However, the bench issued notice and said it will hear the parties concerned.

(With inputs from PTI)

 


Mumbai Coastal Road: HC quashes CRZ clearance for project

In a setback to the state government, the Bombay HC has quashed the coastal regulation zone clearance that was given to the Mumbai Coastal Road project

July 16, 2019: The Bombay High Court, on July 16, 2019, quashed the CRZ clearances granted to the city civic body’s ambitious Rs 14,000-crore Coastal Road project, saying there was ‘serious lacuna’ in the decision-making process and lack of proper scientific study. The court’s ruling means that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) cannot continue work on the 29.2-km-long project, proposed to connect Marine Drive area in south Mumbai to suburban Borivali in north Mumbai.

See also: Bullet Train: Design of station at Thane reworked, to reduce the number of mangroves affected

A division bench of chief justice Pradeep Nandrajog and justice NM Jamdar quashed the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances, while allowing a bunch of petitions filed by activists, residents and fishermen from the city challenging the project. “We are quashing the CRZ clearances granted to the project. We declare that the civic body cannot proceed with the works, without obtaining an environmental clearance under EIA notification. Further, permission under the Wildlife (Protection) Act-1972 should also be obtained,” the bench said. “It is obvious that a serious lacuna has occurred in the decision-making process. We hold that there is lack of proper scientific study and this has been overlooked by Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA), the EIA and the union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF),” the court said. BMC’s counsel Darius Khambata sought a stay of the order, to appeal in the Supreme Court. The request was, however, refused by the high court.

(With inputs from PTI)

 


Actor John Abraham opposes Coastal Road project, use of forest land for Mumbai Metro

Actor John Abraham has slammed the Maharashtra government’s nod for use of forest land in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony for construction of a metro car shed and also said he was opposed to the Coastal Road project

July 11, 2019: Bollywood actor John Abraham, on July 10, 2019, touched upon the controversy surrounding the Coastal Road project and use of Aarey Colony land for the Mumbai Metro-3, when asked about the issues he cares for, as a resident of the city. “Someone like me is opposed to the coastal road,” he said. He also expressed displeasure over the decision to construct a car shed for the metro, by cutting down trees in Aarey Colony. “When the Maharashtra government has decided to cut (trees on) 33 hectares of land in Aarey Milk Colony, then, we wonder, are we thinking in the right direction? I am opposed to the 33 hectares of land being cut. You are displacing animals, it is ridiculous. It is a cause of concern. I don’t understand where we are going,” the actor said.

See also: Mumbai Metro Line 3: Everything you need to know

Environmental activists have been opposing the decision to build car shed for Metro-3 in Aarey Colony, as it will entail cutting of thousands of trees. Ecological concerns have also been raised about the ambitious coastal road project in the city. “There is something called water harvesting and we are not doing it properly in the city. (If) we don’t have enough rains in the city and country, the rivers are going to dry up in the next 20-30 years and it is a serious problem this country is facing,” he said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Mumbai Coastal Road project: HC reserves judgement on PILs

The Bombay HC has reserved its judgement on public interest litigations challenging the ambitious Rs 14,000-crore Mumbai Coastal Road project

July 2, 2019: The Bombay High Court, on July 1, 2019, reserved judgement on a bunch of petitions, challenging the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC’s) Rs 14,000-crore Coastal Road project that proposes to connect the Marine Drive area in south Mumbai to Borivali in north Mumbai. A division bench of chief justice Pradeep Nandrajog and justice NM Jamdar, had commenced the hearing on June 17, 2019, on the petitions filed by activists, residents and fisherfolk from the city challenging the project.

See also: Bullet Train: Design of station at Thane reworked, to reduce the number of mangroves affected

In April, the high court had prohibited the BMC from carrying out any further work on the project, following which the civic corporation had appealed in the Supreme Court. In May 2019, the apex court permitted the corporation to carry out existing work but prohibited them from doing any new work. The apex court had directed the high court to take up the petitions for final hearing.

(With inputs from PTI)

 


Mumbai Coastal Road: HC red flags damage to environment by present generation

The Bombay HC, while hearing pleas against the Mumbai Coastal Road project, warned that the environmental damage caused by the present generation, could severely impact future generations

June 19, 2019: The Bombay High Court, on June 18, 2019, said the environmental damage caused by the present generation, is going to severely impact the future generations and lead to physical deformities among people. A division bench of chief justice Pradeep Nandrajog and justice NM Jamdar, made the observation while hearing a bunch of petitions filed by activists, residents and the fisherfolk community from the city, challenging the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC’s) Rs 14,000-crore Coastal Road project.

See also: Bullet train: HC seeks expert opinion, for cutting mangroves

Chief justice Nandrajog, during the arguments over the project, drew a caricature on a sheet of paper depicting how a human being would look like, in the future. The human caricature had long fingers, nose and a big head but shrunken hands, legs and body. “With the damage to the environment being caused presently, this is how our future generations will look,” chief justice Nandrajog said, passing the paper with the caricature to the advocates arguing the matter. “Humans will be only sitting in front of computers, due to which we will have long fingers and a long nose, because we will keep smelling the toxic gas. The body will shrink because of no physical activity,” the court said.

Last month, the apex court permitted the BMC to carry out existing work but barred it from undertaking any new task related to the 29.2-km-long project that proposes to connect south Mumbai with the north-western suburbs of the metropolis. The apex court had directed the HC to take up the petitions for final hearing.

(With inputs from PTI)

 


Mumbai Coastal Road necessary, compensation to be given to fishermen: MCGM tells HC

Stressing that the Mumbai Coastal Road was essential in the larger public interest to ease traffic problems, the MCGM has informed the HC that it will form a ‘Rehabilitation Assessment Policy’, to compensate project-affected fisherfolk

June 4, 2019: The Mumbai civic body, on June 3, 2019, informed the Bombay High Court that its Coastal Road project was in larger public interest and compensation will be given to fishermen affected by the ambitious venture. The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) filed affidavits, in response to five petitions submitted by activists, residents and the fisherfolk community from the city, challenging various aspects of the project.

The MCGM, in its affidavits, said that to address the concerns of fisherfolk, the civic body will engage the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute to conduct a detailed survey of the area, which may be affected by the project and submit a report. The civic body is also preparing a Fisherfolk Rehabilitation Assessment Policy, on the lines of the one adopted by Mumbai’s development agency MMRDA, in the Trans-Harbour Link project, according to the affidavits submitted before the bench.

See also: No environment clearance needed for construction on 20,000-50,000 sq metre area: Environment Ministry’s notification

“The corporation will form a Fisherfolk Rehabilitation Assessment Committee to study the effect on the livelihood of fishermen that may occur due to the project, identify project-affected fishermen and formulate policy for monetary compensation. The South Coastal Road project is being undertaken in larger public interest, as a solution to the ever-increasing traffic congestion and burden on existing infrastructure,” the affidavits read.

“In order to balance the rights of the citizens of the city, with regard the impact that the South Coastal Road project may cause on some of the fisherfolk, the corporation has proposed to pay them (fisherfolk) monetary compensation,” the MCGM said in its affidavits. A division bench of chief justice Pradeep Nandrajog and justice NM Jamdar later posted the petitions for final hearing on June 17, 2019.

(With inputs from PTI)


Mumbai Coastal Road: HC stops further land reclamation till April 23, 2019

Update on April 11, 2019: A Bombay High Court bench of chief justice Pradeep Nandrajog and justice NM Jamdar, on April 11, 2019, restricted the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) from carrying out land reclamation for the Mumbai Coastal Road project till April 23, 2019 and also directed the civic body not to dump debris of the project in the Worli Sea-face area, until further orders.

The bench was hearing two petitions, one filed by NGO ‘Society for Improvement of Greenery and Nature’ and another by a group of residents. The NGO had challenged the BMC’s proposal to cut over 200 trees in Tata Garden area for the project. The civic body said it was necessary, to make way for an interchange at Breach Candy for the Coastal Road. Ankit Kulkarni, lawyer of the NGO which is run by Breach Candy residents, argued that an open plot next to the park, known as Scandal Point, can be used for the interchange and there will be no need to cut the trees. The court said the suggestion was logical. “This is a simple suggestion that will appeal to any logical mind. Why not consider this?” the bench said.

See also: Maharashtra has the highest number of polluted rivers in the country: NGT

The other petition, filed by a group of residents led by Shweta Wagh, had challenged the ongoing reclamation around Worli area for the project. There was no adequate environmental impact assessment for the project, it said. The project would irreversibly damage the coastal ecosystem and deprive the local fishing community of livelihood, it said. Advocates Kranti L and Gayatri Singh, the petitioners’ lawyers, claimed that the BMC had not obtained the necessary environmental clearances from the union government.

BMC counsel Anil Sakhre denied these claims. The apprehensions about reclamation work were unfounded, as reclamation is not always destructive and 70% of Mumbai stands on land reclaimed from the sea, he said.

The court, however, directed the BMC to maintain a status quo until the next hearing on April 23. “Whatever damage has been done to the coast is done but do not venture ahead into the area of the coast that you (BMC) haven’t touched till now,” the court said.

(With inputs from PTI)


Mumbai Coastal Road: HC seeks BMC’s reply on lack of adequate impact assessment surveys

Update on April 10, 2019: The Bombay High Court, on April 9, 2019, directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to respond to an experts’ body report, stating that it had not conducted adequate surveys to study the impact of the proposed Coastal Road project on the fisherfolk in the city and on the marine life along the coast. A bench of chief justice Pradeep Nandrajog and justice NM Jamdar, directed the BMC to file its reply by April 23, 2019.

See also: Mumbai bridge collapse: BMC union condemns arrest of engineers

The counsel for the petitioners against the project, advocate Gayatri Singh, submitted a report of the Mumbai centre of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, stating that the ‘two-day rapid survey’ that the BMC claims to have conducted before starting work on the project, was ‘not enough’. “Two days (of) rapid survey cannot give a detailed account of any fishing activity, or the impact on such activity and on fishery resources,” the report stated.

BMC counsel Anil Sakhre contested the claim, saying the reclamation and construction work for the project would not have any adverse effects on the fisherfolk in the city and their source of livelihood. The bench, however, said the BMC must go through the above report and file its detailed reply.

(With inputs from PTI)


Mumbai Coastal Road: HC tells centre to list steps, to protect project-hit fishermen

Update on April 1, 2019: A Bombay High Court bench of chief justice Naresh Patil and justice NM Jamdar directed the union government counsel, additional solicitor general Anil Singh, to file an affidavit listing the steps that the centre was taking, to safeguard the livelihoods of fishermen affected by the Mumbai Coastal Road project. The affidavit should state whether the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was required to have had experts conduct a specific study, on the effect of the reclamation and construction work for the project, on the fisherfolk in the city and their source of livelihood, the bench said.

See also: Mumbai residents file PIL on damage to mangroves, due to road projects in Versova

Such a study was a condition imposed by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest on the BMC, at the time of granting clearances for the project, which envisages building a 29.2-km-long road along Mumbai’s west coast, connecting Marine Drive in South Mumbai to Kandivali, a western suburb. The court directed the union government to file the affidavit, clarifying if such a condition still existed and if so, then, ‘whether the study was to be conducted simultaneously with the reclamation work, as it progressed along the proposed stretch of the road, or if the study should have been done before the work began’.

BMC counsel Anil Sakhre told the court that the Corporation would ensure that the fishermen affected by the project were duly compensated. He also said the civic body will ensure that any likely damage to the breeding areas of fish along the stretch was minimised. The HC, however, cautioned that if it was ‘not satisfied’ with the steps taken by the state and central authorities to protect the fishermen, it would have to ‘think about whether to let the project go ahead or not’. It directed the union government to file its affidavit by April 9, 2019.

(With inputs from PTI)


Mumbai Coastal Road: How can authorities begin work without determining its impact, asks HC

Update on March 20, 2019: The Bombay High Court, on March 19, 2019, questioned the state authorities on how they could begin work on the Coastal Road project, without determining whether it was going to adversely affect fishing communities and breeding ground for fish along the proposed road. A bench of chief justice Naresh Patil and justice NM Jamdar said while development was essential, it could not come at the cost of citizens.

The court also took strong exception to the apparent ‘lack of coordination’, among the agencies involved in the project. It noted that while the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) claimed to have all requisite data on issues like the number of people being affected and breeding ground for fish along the proposed area, the state fisheries department and the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest did not have any information on the same.

See also: CIDCO to build a Rs 273-crore coastal road in Navi Mumbai

BMC counsel Anil Sakhre told the court that while a survey had been conducted in the Worli area, to identify people and livelihoods that would be affected by a portion of the Coastal Road project, a survey along the entire stretch of around 19 kilometres was yet to be conducted by the state fisheries department. The department, however, told the bench that it was inept to identify the breeding ground for fish along the above stretch and would need help from expert agencies under the central government. At this, the bench remarked that such a lack of coordination represented an extremely sorry state of affairs.

It said, ideally, the agencies should have conducted such a survey before beginning work on the project. The court also said the state must have a uniform policy, to assist and rehabilitate any person affected by the Coastal Road project. “Development should not come at the cost of the people,” the bench said. “Your (parties in the case) submissions also reflect a very sorry state of affairs. Can’t you coordinate without the court’s intervention? Why don’t you get together, hold a meeting and take all stakeholders into confidence? Is it the court’s job to get all of you together and send you into a meeting room for discussion on your own project?” the bench said. The court then directed the BMC to submit details of the fishing areas and breeding ground that fall along the proposed stretch and the number of people likely to be affected by the project.

(With inputs from PTI)


HC refuses to stay Mumbai Coastal Road project

Update on February 28, 2019: A Bombay High Court bench of chief justice Naresh Patil and justice NM Jamdar, while refusing to stay the Mumbai Coastal Road project on February 27, 2019, however, gave oral orders to the commissioner of the fisheries department to grant a hearing to the members of two fishing societies, which have approached the high court against the project. The societies opposing the 29.2-km-long road are the Worli Koliwada Nakhwa and the Worli Machimmar Sarvodaya Sahakari Society.

See also: CIDCO to build a Rs 273-crore coastal road in Navi Mumbai

The bench also directed the police to ensure fishermen were allowed to put up equipment, including nets, along the area marked for the road, until actual construction began. It was hearing a petition filed by the two fishing societies opposing the project, which claimed that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and state authorities had not conducted any public hearing or consultations with the fisherfolk from the city, before planning and approving the project.

(With inputs from PTI)


Fishermen move HC, opposing Mumbai’s Coastal Road project

Update on February 26, 2019: Residents of Worli Koliwada have filed a petition in the Bombay High Court early this month, alleging that the 29.2-km-long Mumbai Coastal Road project, work for which began in October 2018, was approved without consulting any member of the fishing community. The reclamation of land for the road, the petitioners have claimed, will impact the livelihood of countless fishermen in areas such as Worli, Khar Danda, Chimbai and several other places between Marine Drive in south Mumbai and Kandivali, a western suburb.

The road will run along the west coast of Mumbai and proposes to connect Marine Drive to Kandivali. The fishermen in the plea, who filed through their counsel Meenaz Kakalia, have argued that the project also does not have all the requisite environment clearances and that it was started merely on the basis of permission from coastal zone authorities. The plea was heard, on February 25, 2019, by a bench of chief justice Naresh Patil and justice NM Jamdar. The bench adjourned the hearing to February 27, 2019, as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) are yet to file their replies. The BMC and the MCZMA were issued notices earlier.

(With inputs from PTI)


The 29.2-km-long Coastal Road project is set to drastically change the commute, as well as public spaces in parts of Mumbai. Once completed, the eight-lane road will start from Princess Street Flyover in Marine Lines and end in suburban Kandivali. The road will involve construction of tunnels, interchanges, bridges, foot over-bridges and pedestrian underpasses along the route.

 

Construction timeline of Mumbai Coastal Road

The construction of the first phase of the Mumbai Coastal Road (the southern part), began in October 2018, after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC’s) standing committee gave its go-ahead. The entire project is expected to be completed in four years and will be constructed in two phases – Princess Street to Worli and Bandra to Kandivali.

The start of the project was delayed multiple times over several years, owing to hold-ups in receiving the required permissions. Most recently, the BMC’s standing committee had held back the proposal to sanction the first phase, due to the cost escalating from Rs 6,000 crores to roughly Rs 12,000 crores, in the span of a year. In September 2018, municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta addressed the committee and stated that such a drastic escalation was attributed to factors such as an increase in fuel prices, the cost of steel, the amount reserved for biodiversity as per the Environment Ministry’s guidelines and a depreciation in the value of the rupee.

Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms in India do not allow reclamation of land and the construction of the Coastal Road required the relaxation of some these norms, as parts of it will be built on reclaimed land in south Mumbai. In a meeting held in June 2013, the union environment minister at the time, Jayanthi Natarajan, had expressed concerns that the reclamation of land could adversely affect the ecology of creeks and mangroves in the city. However, the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) argued that the Coastal Road could provide protection from inland flooding, while also being a vital road link to ease traffic congestion.

In June 2015, the state government signed an MoU with the Dutch government, for technical co-operation in implementing the project, as the Netherlands is known for its environment-friendly reclamation of land and preservation of its seas. The Coastal Road project finally received clearance from the union Ministry of Environment and Forests, in June 2015.

See also: Mumbai Coastal Road promenade to overshadow Marine Drive walkway

 

Mumbai Coastal Road: Latest developments

The Mumbai Coastal Road project will give rise to the city’s longest promenades, overtaking the iconic walkway at Marine Drive in south Mumbai. The proposed promenade will be 6.4 kms long, stretching from Worli to Priyadarshini Park via Haji Ali in south Mumbai, a senior civic official said, on January 9, 2019.

The new promenade, which will be 20 metres wide, will have gardens, playgrounds, open auditoriums, cycle tracks, toilets and seating arrangements for senior citizens. The project also proposes three underground parking spaces for 1,625 vehicles. The walkway is proposed to be constructed on around 96.87 lakh sq ft of reclaimed land. Of this, 22 per cent of the area will be used for the Coastal Road’s construction, while the remaining 78 per cent of the land will be used for setting up public amenities.

On February 4, 2019, the Mumbai civic body announced the allocation of funds towards several major infrastructure projects as part of its Rs 30,692-crore budget for the financial year 2019-20. The BMC’s total budget estimates for the next financial year was 12.6 per cent more than the last fiscal. It has set aside funds for mega infrastructure projects, with the largest chunk of Rs 1,600 crores allocated to the Coastal Road project.

 

Mumbai Coastal Road: Fast facts

The Mumbai Coastal Road has been proposed as an alternative to the Western Freeway. In 2011, former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan asked the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) to consider building coastal roads, instead of capital-intensive sea links. A joint technical committee of experts was appointed and in a report submitted in January 2012, it recommended the building of a coastal road, instead of one more sea link, which would reportedly save Rs 120 billion of public money.

The proposed Coastal Road will have eight lanes – six for vehicular traffic and two for a BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) corridor. The project will also include the construction of two underground earthquake-resistant tunnels – one under Girgaum Chowpatty and the other under Malabar Hill.

 

Opposition to the Mumbai Coastal Road

While the Coastal Road is being lauded as an engineering marvel that will ease traffic congestion in the city, it is being criticised and opposed by the large fishing community that feels the project will jeopardise their source of livelihood. On January 31, 2019, it was reported that the Worli Koliwada Nakhawa Matsya Vyavsay Sahkari Society alleged that the BMC had obtained a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Worli Koliwada Owners Community Welfare Co-Operative Society of Worli village – a group that does not represent the fishing community in any way – and had gone ahead with the project.

The fishing community has opposed the Coastal Road project, specifically the reclamation work near Priyadarshini Park, because they fear that its construction will adversely affect the quality and quantity of fish that will be available to them, to sustain their livelihood. Fishermen from Worli have also demanded that the gap between the pillars of the Coastal Road be increased to 200 metres, instead of the currently proposed 60 metres.

In 2018, a group of urban planners and architects called the ‘Bandra Collective’, released a number of animated GIFs that showed why building the Coastal Road would be problematic for the city. The group claimed that other than possibly being an eyesore that will dominate the city’s famed skyline, the entire project was not financially sound and would do little to ease traffic congestion.

 

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