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Bombay High Court quashes CRZ clearance to Rs 14,000 cr coastal road project

The project proposed to connect Marine Drive area in south Mumbai to Borivali in north Mumbai.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Jul 17, 2019, 10.50 AM IST
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Bombay HC sets aside CRZ clearance for BMC's coastal road project
Bombay HC sets aside CRZ clearance for BMC's coastal road project
MUMBAI: A shortcut taken by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) might prove to be quite costly, as it could instead end up delaying an ambitious road project of the civic body.

In a bid to save time and absolve itself from taking an environmental clearance for the construction of the Rs 14,000-crore coastal road project in Mumbai, the BMC decided to claim that it needed no environmental clearance for the work as it was just a road under the city’s development plan. Officials claimed they had taken this decision as otherwise the project would have got delayed by a couple of years.

This argument advanced by the civic body did not stand judicial scrutiny, as the Bombay High Court on Tuesday restrained the BMC from constructing the road before taking the approvals. It also quashed the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances granted to the project.

The proposed 29.2-km-long road is to connect the Marine Drive area in South Mumbai to suburban Borivali in North Mumbai.

A division bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and justice NM Jamdar also asked the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority to obtain permission under the Wildlife (Protection) Act for the project.

The original petitioners, the Worli Koliwada Nakhwa Matsya Vyavasay Sahkari Society and Worli Machimmar Sarvodaya, argued that the ongoing reclamation work under the project was not only illegal but would also irreversibly alter coastal biodiversity and affect traditional ecological practices.

Environmentalist Zoru Bathena told ET that the BMC argument claiming that the coastal road needed no environmental and other clearances was false as other roads constructed under the development plan had to take the approvals. “Their plan was initially to reclaim 20 hectares of land, however, now they are reclaiming 95 hectares. What are they actually planning to build here,” Bathena asked.
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