Public hearings start January 30

MSRDC plans to start construction of a passenger water transport project on the east coast in the next few months and has scheduled public hearings in Mumbai, Thane and Raigad.

The hearings organised with Maharashtra Pollution Control Board will be held on January 30 (Mumbai), February 16 (Thane) and February 21 (Raigad).

The expert appraisal committee of the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) recommends projects for environmental clearance only after issues raised in public hearings are incorporated in the environment management plan.

"Like in the west coast project, most issues are likely to be related to adverse effects on fishing belts and navigational channels for fishing boats. We have already started talking to fishermen, so that we are better prepared for the public hearings," said S R Nandagirkar, project in-charge.

The project is yet to receive a go-ahead from the cabinet sub-committee on infrastructure. "If things go as planned, we hope to start construction by March or April," Nandagirkar said.

The passenger water transport system will connect south Mumbai from Ferry Wharf to Nerul and Mandwa. It will have a roll-on roll-off service for vehicles.

The lowest bids for construction of terminals and an elevated road from Ferry Wharf to the proposed Eastern Freeway amount to Rs 440.47 crore.

MSRDC had organised similar public hearings for another passenger water transport system on the west coast from Nariman Point to Borivali with stops at Bandra, Juhu, Versova and Marve. Then, locals and fishermen had raised concern about debris pile-ups and interference with fishing zones.

The MoEF expert appraisal committee on Coastal Regulation Zone, infrastructure and miscellaneous issues will consider the west coast project for an environmental clearance on January 28.

For passengers

The passenger water transport system will connect south Mumbai from Ferry Wharf to Nerul and Mandwa

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