As arguments in the PILs challenging the construction of the coastal road continued in the Bombay High Court on Wednesday, the petitioners argued that the clearance given to the southern part of the road – Princess Street to Worli – aimed at connecting South Mumbai to Kandivali, will, in effect, move the traffic bottlenecks in South Mumbai to Bandra.
A day after the petitioners’ counsel Janak Dwarkadas told the HC that the environmental clearance granted to the southern stretch of the coastal road was bad in law, he argued that the project aimed at de-congesting the city would in no way serve that purpose.
“What traffic problem have you resolved with this truncated nine-km road in the south? It is only going to cause a bottleneck in Bandra. Permission has been granted without any application of mind,” Dwarkadas argued.
Chief Justice Pradeep Nadrajog and Justice N M Jamdar are hearing a bunch of PILs challenging the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s coastal road project that will connect Nariman Point to Kandivali in two phases. The project has been challenged by environmental groups, NGOs and activists including the Conservation Action Trust, Society for Improvement and Nature, architect Shweta Wagh and NGO Vanshakti and the Worli Koliwada Nakhwa Matsyavyavsay Sahakari Society.
Earlier, the petitioners had argued that the BMC had consistently projected the coastal road as one project but curiously when it came to undergoing environmental scrutiny, the BMC seeks to treat it as two standalone projects – northern from Bandra to Kandivali Junction and southern from Princess Street flyover (Marine Drive) to Worli.
Dwarkadas told the court that this would essentially mean that traffic that moves from south to north will clog Bandra and go on to meet the Western Express Highway (WEH) that the coastal road is expected to be an alternative to. “The WEH is already inundated. Now, they (BMC) are saying let’s take the traffic in South Mumbai and put it in Bandra. After that it is the motorists’ problem,” said Dwarkadas.
The court will continue to hear the PILs on Thursday.