THE BOMBAY High Court on Friday cleared one hurdle for the construction of the 10-km Bandra-Versova Sea Link by allowing the feeling of 1,585 mangrove trees to construct three connectors to the sea link.
The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) had moved court seeking permission to cut the mangroves, as previous HC orders had prohibited the destruction of mangroves. The MSRDC was seeking to cut mangroves around three proposed connectors to the sea link, at the start and end points and the third connector at Khar Danda.
Senior counsel Milind Sathe, who appeared for the MSRDC, argued that they had obtained all other requisite permissions to construct the sea link, right from Coastal Regulation Zone, environmental and forest department clearances.
Sathe added that the sea link is a vital project for the city, and there is a rise in population and vehicles on the road, contributing to traffic jams along S V Road and the Western Express Highway.
Senior counsel Gayatri Singh, who appeared for the fisherfolk in the Juhu Koliwada area opposing the project, argued that the MSRDC had earlier said that no mangroves would be cut for the project and that this was also considered for the environmental clearance. “We question this change in its decision, which is bound to adversely impact 30,000 sq km of mangroves,” Singh told the court.
A Division Bench of B R Gavai and Justice N J Jamadar allowed the petition of the MSRDC, subject to the agency filing an affidavit on abiding with all the terms and conditions imposed by the forest department, Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority and the Ministry of Environment and Forests.