Updated: September 8, 2020 9:57:12 am
Days after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) told the Supreme Court (SC) it needs additional reclamation of six hectares for the Coastal Road project in Mumbai, it has now filed a fresh affidavit, seeking 15 more hectare from the sea.
On Monday, the BMC filed a supplementary affidavit informing the SC and petitioners that it would need to reclaim a total of 111 hectare instead of 96 hectare mentioned in its previous affidavit.
The BMC had filed an additional affidavit on August 28 informing the court and petitioners that while the original estimated reclamation for the project was supposed to be 90 hectare, it needs an additional six hectare. The BMC’s latest submission comes after the SC on August 18 asked the civic body to file an affidavit detailing the land it is acquiring.
In the past 10 days, the civic body has filed two affidavits increasing the requirement of reclamation from 90 to 111 hectares. The matter will be discussed in the apex court on Wednesday. The BMC has said the increase in reclamation was owing to construction of a partially submerged sea wall, which will protect the coastal road from high waves and erosion.
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The latest affidavit stated that the design of the partially submerged inclined sea wall (construction of which has commenced) will lead to reclamation of an estimated 15 hectare in addition to the 96 hectare. The sea wall’s foundation area of about 15 hectare will be mostly submerged. The BMC has said the construction of the sea wall using armour rocks would help in enhancement of marine biodiversity and was eco-friendly. It stated that it has Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance for reclamation of 90 hectare and additional reclamation will be done only after permission from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
The civic body has so far reclaimed 52.35 hectare for the 9.98-km coastal road stretching from Princess Street Flyover to Worli end of Bandra-Worli Sea Link.
Activists are opposing the project citing that it will cause irreversible damage to marine biodiversity on the western coast and fishing areas. They claimed the civic body has done excess reclamation at Haji Ali and Worli violating CRZ norms. However, the BMC in its affidavit filed on September 4 before the SC denied the claim.
“Why can’t the BMC decide how much area they are actually planning to reclaim? It seems the BMC is unable to calculate areas properly, or they are carrying out reclamation beyond what they have permission for. This is a very serious issue of transparency and accountability,” said Shweta Wagh, urban conservationist and a petitioner against the coastal road.
She added, “When the BMC’s new maps were compared with our maps we found they carried out some reclamation without clearances at Haji Ali and Worli.”
Earlier, while endorsing its ambitious coastal road project, the BMC had said reclamation in sea will give the city additional open spaces of 90 hectare. However, according to BMC documents from 2017, of 90 hectare, while 20 hectares will be used for road carriageway including promenade on the seaward side, rest 70 hectare has been shown as green spaces of which 56 hectare will be used for amenities like bus stops, police chowkies and sub stations and 3.96 hectare as area of median.
Deputy Municipal Commissioner R S Kuknoor was not available for comment.
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