Even as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is set to move the Supreme Court against the Bombay High Court’s decision to set aside the environmental clearances granted to its ambitious Coastal Road project, work came to a halt behind the yellow barricades propped up along the sea in South Mumbai.
“We (BMC) will move a petition against this (Bombay High Court) order on Wednesday. Also, we will request the (Supreme) Court to expedite the matter and vacate the stay (on construction) granted by the high court. The civic body will incur loses of about Rs 10 crore per day with this stay. We have stopped all activity on the site to avoid any contempt,” R S Kuknoor, Deputy Municipal Commissioner, BMC, and in-charge of the Coastal Road project, said.
Meanwhile, environmentalists and activists have hailed the high court’s decision, which they felt had validated their contention that the project, aimed at decongesting the city’s roads, was not in the interest of the environment.
City-based architect and a petitioner in the case, Shweta Wagh, said: “The HC has acknowledged the ecological sensitivity of the area and also impacts on artisanal fishing practices. It’s disappointing though that the CRZ amendment has been upheld.”
Another petitioner, Debi Goenka of Bombay Conservation Trust, said: “The High Court has upheld our contentions that environmental and wildlife clearances were required, and that the CRZ clearance was granted without proper application of mind.”
Civic body is constructing 9.96-km of the Coastal Road from Princess Street to Worli end of the sea link. The Coastal Road will be made on reclamation land, and would pass through underground. Activists had opposed the move alleging that it could prove disastrous as it will cause irreversible damage to western coast and marine biodiversity. Fishermen had also expressed concern that reclamation will deprive them of their livelihood as it would destroy the fishing areas.
Fisherman from Worli Koliwada, Harishchandra Nakhawa, also a petitioner in the case, said, “We don’t want this project. We need our sea and fishing areas as it is. Also, we don’t need compensation or any job offer from the BMC. The project should be scrapped.”