SECURING environment clearances for several road infrastructure works, mostly short intra-city flyovers and road-improvement projects, is currently a time-consuming task with the proposals having to go to the Union government for a final clearance. However now, getting clearances may get easier .
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has issued an amendment to the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification of 2011, clarifying what kind of activities will mandate a clearance at the Union level. Many works, which earlier had to go to the Union environment ministry for a final approval, can now be cleared at the level of the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) itself, a development authority official said.
UPS Madan, metropolitan commissioner at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), said, “There is a recent notification of the Union environment ministry on what kind of projects falling in CRZ areas have to be sent to the Union government for a clearance and what can be cleared at the state level. Accordingly, most flyover projects will now be cleared by MCZMA. The proposal for an elevated road between Bandra Kurla Complex and Eastern Express Highway is also likely to come back to the MCZMA for a final clearance.”
Under the previous norms, MCZMA had appraised the project for a 1.6-km connector from the business district to the Eastern Express Highway near Chunabhatti and had, after its meeting in October last year, recommended it for approval to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). Wanting to start work on the Rs 156-crore connector, MMRDA has been waiting for the project to be considered and cleared at the Union environment ministry level since then.
Other than the Bandra Kurla Complex connector, the amendment will also immediately help the proposed Rs 490-crore Sewri-Worli elevated road by shortening the procedure of a CRZ clearance.
According to the CRZ notification of 2011, all works not listed in the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA), 2006, requires to have a clearance from the Union environment ministry. Projects related to inter-city flyovers and road improvement works do not feature in the eight activities that according to EIA 2006 need regulatory clearance. Hence, following the CRZ notification of 2011, officials were required to send these to the Union environment ministry. Now, in the amendment, the ministry has specified that those activities listed in Category A of the EIA, 2006, will require an approval from the Union environment ministry, substituting the clause mandating a central clearance for all activities not specified in the EIA.
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