The ambitious project of constructing a coastal road by reclaiming land in Mumbai is yet to be cleared by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), as the ministry still fears it could in the long run open up the sea-front land for real estate development.
BJP’s Prakash Javadekar, who heads the ministry, had shown willingness to positively consider the project in a meeting with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in January. The project requires an amendment to the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) norms to allow reclamation.
The MoEF had sought an undertaking from the BJP-Shiv Sena government that there would be no dilution of the high-tide line or any change in existing restrictions on construction activity in coastal zones. The state coastal regulatory panel had sent the undertaking.
Fadnavis said, “The ministry still has some doubts. They are concerned about likely changes to the high-tide line and the usage of the land, opened up by reclamation, in real estate. We have given them an undertaking assuring that the land will only be used for the coastal road and creation of green spaces and promenades, but they are apprehensive that the next government could change it.”
He said that the state government will have one more meeting with the environment ministry and Javadekar to resolve the doubts. Planned as a freeway to connect South Mumbai to the western suburbs through a high-speed corridor, the project was first taken up by former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan as a cheaper alternative to sea links for decongesting traffic.