The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has approached the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) for permission for additional reclamation in the sea for the coastal road project. The MCZMA will take up the issue on October 31 to decide on additional reclamation of 21 hectares for the project. The BMC so far has clearance for reclaiming 90 hectares.
On October 7, the Supreme Court allowed the petitioners to remain present and to be heard in the matter by the MCZMA. The order came after one of the petitioners against the coastal road, Debi Goenka of Conservation Action Trust (CAT), pointed out that the BMC has already carried out additional reclamation of about 4.50 hectares without even having requisite permission.
Senior advocate Shyam Divan, who appeared on behalf of CAT, said that the petitioners should be heard before the MCZMA. “We requested the court that we should be given the opportunity to represent, to which the court agreed,” said Goenka.
He also said that the civic body has made additional reclamation at Worli and Haji Ali for sea wall construction. To which, the court said the BMC is not allowed to reclaim beyond 90 hectares.
Chief engineer of coastal road project, V S Nighot said the civic body approached the MCZMA last week seeking permission for additional reclamation. However, Nighot said the additional reclamation for land is only six hectares and the remaining 15 hectares would be for sea wall. “The additional six hectares would be required for construction of road as there are some changes while executing the project. The other 15 hectares will be natural areas as most of it will be under sea,” said Nighot.
He said, “For wildlife clearance we are waiting for permission from the National Wildlife Board. We have submitted all documents before forest department.”
Earlier, 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 hectares it needs an additional six hectares. In another affidavit, the civic body informed the court that it will require 15 hectares more for sea wall increasing the total requirement of reclamation from 90 to 111 hectares.
The BMC stated that its has Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance for reclamation of 90 hectares and additional reclamation will be done only after permission from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
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