The city’s development authority’s plans of roping in corporates to beautify the Mithi river promenade inside the plush Bandra-Kurla complex are losing steam, as coastal regulation zone (CRZ) norms are likely to prove as a roadblock to the ambitious designs of the private company it had picked.
After inviting expressions of interest more than a year ago, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had selected Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Foundation and Standard Chartered bank to beautify an area of 10 hectares along the Mithi river. Of the 10 hectares divided in ten stretches, Standard Chartered was in charge of about two hectares while the rest was entrusted to Reliance Foundation.
“Reliance had plans of developing the promenade as a waterfront with an open interface, a small cafeteria, water sports and so on. However, keeping coastal regulation zone norms in mind, it may not be possible. Also, it is not possible to have an open interface because there is a road between the river bank and the space for a garden,” a MMRDA official said.
He said there are also some high-tension lines above the space earmarked for the gardens and there are restrictions on carrying out work below these. “Under these circumstances, Reliance is not keen on taking up the task. We have now assigned an architect to look into all these possibilities and come up with the best possible design within the existing norms,” the official said. Meanwhile, Standard Chartered has submitted a design for the two stretches under it involving basic landscaping. The proposal is now awaiting the MMRDA commissioner’s nod, the he added.
About six km of Mithi river from Mahim Causeway to CST bridge falls within MMRDA’s jurisdiction. The authority has beautified a small portion of this stretch from beginning of BKC to E-block of the complex. Besides, a considerable portion of the remaining stretch is covered with mangroves, leaving about 1.5 km where there is scope for landscaping over 10 hectares. Accordingly, MMRDA had in January, 2013 invited expressions of interest from non-governmental organisations and corporate bodies to embellish the Mithi river promenade.
Initially besides Reliance and Standard Chartered, companies such as Keystone Group, Godrej and Jindal had evinced interest.