The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has issued a draft notification on amending provisions of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) to fast-track the Maharashtra government’s ambitious coastal road project in Mumbai.
The amendment will enable the state government to begin the project in the next two months where a 35.6-km road along the western coastline of Mumbai would link the business district of Nariman Point with Kandivali in the western suburbs.
The draft notification of the ministry was issued on June 25.
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The two significant amendments carried out in the June 6, 2011 CRZ relates to allowing reclamation of land from the sea without altering the high-tide line and a three-fold re-plantation of mangroves that would be destroyed for the project.
The copy of the draft notified reads, “Required for setting up construction or modernisation or expansion of foreshore facilities like ports, harbour, wharves, quays, slipway, bridged, sealink, road on silt, road on reclaimed surface without affecting tidal flow of water, and such as meant for defence and security purpose and for other facilities that are essential for activities permissible under the notifications.”
It further states, “Such roads shall not be taken as authorised road for permitting development on landward side of such roads till the existing high-tide line… and in case the construction of such road is passing through mangroves or likely to damage the mangroves, three times the number of mangroves destroyed or cut during the construction process shall be replanted.”
Union Environment Minister Prakash Javedekar said, “The comprehensive coastal development policy is also in the pipeline. At the moment we have made some amendments in the CRZ to ensure the mega projects like Mumbai coastal road are not caught in technicalities.”
“The draft notification has ensured suggestions and recommendations from people across sections would be seriously considered. The coastal road project in Mumbai will not be hampered because of administrative delays and would be completed in three to four years.”
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “The Union ministry of Environment’s quick response to our demands will help us to keep pace and take Mumbai to the next level.”
He also indicated that the government would strictly adhere to the undertaking given to the Centre not to exploit the reclaimed land for commercial activities and also safeguard the mangroves through re-plantation as stipulated.
However, Javadekar had given Fadnavis formal approval a couple of months ago. However, the state government was awaiting the draft notification before it would commence the work.