Infra projects green trend continues

MoEF's expert panel recommends Bandra-Versova sea link for CRZ clearance

After the Sewri-Nhava Mumbai Trans Harbour Link got a nod from an expert appraisal committee of the union of Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) last month, the committee has now recommended a coastal regulation zone (CRZ) clearance for another sea link proposed for the western suburbs.

The 10-km Bandra-Versova sea link, which will be 900 metres into the sea, will be an arm of the Western Freeway — creating a ring route around Mumbai together with the under-construction Eastern Freeway.

"Now, we only need the approval of the state government's cabinet sub-committee on infrastructure before we can go ahead with the project," said a senior official from the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC).

The sea link will have eight lanes with traffic dispersal points at Joggers Park and Juhu Koliwada. It is estimated to cost Rs 4,045 crore.

However, the MoEF's expert appraisal committee on infrastructure and miscellaneous projects, has put down certain conditions for the construction of the sea link. It has directed the MSRDC to fulfil the promises made to fishermen and residents.

The sea link crosses navigational channels for fishing at Bandra, Chimbai Road, Khar Danda and Juhu Koliwada. After discussions with fishermen, MSRDC proposed navigational spans of 50 m at Bandra and 100 m at other locations.

The committee observed that during the construction, about 150 sq m of mangrove cover will be lost permanently and 50 sq m temporarily. As per norms, the MSRDC will have to plant five times the number of mangroves destroyed and ensure that the viaduct is constructed on stilts in mangrove areas.

Dredging and land reclamation will be prohibited and the MSRDC will have to use construction equipment with exhaust silencers.

"The duct material shall be analyzed prior to dumping at the identified locations with the approval of the competent authority to ensure that it does not cause any impact to the environment," the committee said.

The MSRDC has set aside Rs 44 crore towards the environment management plan for the project.

Projects considered by MoEF recently

Mumbai Trans Harbour Link The expert appraisal committee heard the project proposal in September and recommended it for CRZ clearance

Peddar road viaduct The committee considered the proposal in September but deferred it, asking the MMRDA to submit a detailed action plan to address issues such as noise pollution

West coast water transport

project The committee considered the proposal in September and directed the MSRDC to conduct a public hearing and provide more details such as a disaster management plan and oil spill contingency plan

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