After a delay of nearly two years, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) deposited the entire marine biodiversity fund to the state-run Mangrove Foundation. The foundation received Rs 175.33 crore as funds required for the conservation of coastal and marine biodiversity, as per specific conditions under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance for the multi-crore coastal road project.
Virendra Tiwari, additional principal chief conservator of forest (Mangrove cell), said, “…The funds will be kept in fixed deposits as per the Foundation’s mandate, and used for the improvement of marine and coastal biodiversity.”
According to the conditions of the CRZ clearance, the BMC had to pay two per cent of the total cost of the project to the foundation on or before the commencement of work on the road in December 2018. BMC had paid Rs 25 crore last year.
In a letter to Manisha Mhaiskar, principal secretary, Environment, dated October 29, the foundation highlighted non-compliance by the BMC. “It is brought to your kind consideration that the project proponent (BMC) is yet to deposit Rs 227.42 crore to the Mangrove Foundation, which is a breach of the specific condition 12 of the clearance given to the project,” the letter read.
BMC, however, revised the total construction cost and reduced the applicable funds for marine biodiversity conservation to Rs 175.33 crore. As per earlier calculation, the fund was amounting to Rs 252 crore (two per cent of Rs 12,721 crore).
Tiwari said, “The matter is solved. We have received the entire fund as per the clearance condition.” The BMC is executing the 10.58-km Coastal Road project from Princess Street Flyover to the Worli end of the Bandra-Worli Sealink for Rs 12,721 crore.
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