The controversial Peddar Road flyover,Sewri-Nhava Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) and West Coast Passenger Water Transport System are likely to get a major push on September 19 when the expert appraisal committee on Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) and infrastructure of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) meets to discuss environmental clearance to these transport-related infrastructure projects.
The projects have been in the planning stages for decades and a green nod will ensure their smooth implementation.
MoEF had issued an environmental clearance to the 22-km,Rs 9,630-crore MTHL in March 2005. The clearance was valid for five years,during which there were two failed rounds of tendering for the project. Bids for the project have been now called afresh.
Environmentalists have been wary of MTHL,which will pass through Sewri mudflats,Thane creek and Shivaji Nagar of Nhava mudflats. They fear it might damage the ecological system of the area around the alignment.
We are taking necessary measures to protect the ecology. We will construct the starting point of the bridge at Sewri as a viaduct rather than having it at the ground level. We are also identifying land for mangrove replantation, an official from Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) said.
MMRDA had applied for a fresh clearance in January 2012 with Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA),which decided to recommend the proposal to MoEF in April.
Likewise,Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority decided in July to recommend the decade-old plan of a passenger water transport system on the citys western coast to MoEF saying the activity would involve dredging.
Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has nearly finalised the contracts for construction of terminals for the project and hopes to start work by October.
Getting a clearance from MoEF should not be difficult as MCZMA has given the go-ahead. We have all the other necessary clearances in place so once we get the environmental clearance we can start construction as planned, an MSRDC official said.
The Peddar Road flyover has been stuck for more than a decade for want of an environmental clearance and stiff opposition from residents,including singers Asha Bhosale and Lata Mangeshkar.
For easy environmental clearance,MSRDC had two years ago modified the flyovers design to shift two piers from area under CRZ-1 to CRZ-2.
A revised proposal for environmental clearance has been pending with MoEF for nearly a year and MSRDC officials have been frequenting Delhi to request the ministry to take it up urgently,so that bids can be called for construction.
Officials say MoEF was likely to refer the proposal to Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority after an internal approval.