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Natural history society to study effects of project on Sanjay Gandhi National Park’s bio-diversity

The BMC is expected to spend Rs 4,000 crore on the 14-km-long GMLR project, which will be the third such link road to improve the east-west connectivity.

| Mumbai | Published: October 31, 2019 1:42:49 am
Forest dept survey: 47 leopards in Mumbai's Sanjay Gandhi National Park, nearby areas Spread in about 100 square km, SGNP is home to various flora and fauna. (File)

The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) will study the effect on bio-diversity along Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) ambitious project Goregaon-Mulund Link Road (GMLR), a part of which will pass through the eco-sensitive zone of Sanjay Gandhi National Park. The BNHS, a pan-India wildlife research organisation, has been also asked to prepare a plan to mitigate the effects on bio-diversity of the park during and after the construction of the tunnel.

Officials from the Bridges department, which is executing the project, said the BNHS was appointed after the National Wildlife Board (NWB), while giving its final nod to the project, laid down the condition of conducting a study on the effect on bio-diversity along the proposed tunnel for the GMLR that will pass through SGNP in Borivali.

Spread in about 100 square km, SGNP is home to various flora and fauna. The BMC is expected to spend Rs 4,000 crore on the 14-km-long GMLR project, which will be the third such link road to improve the east-west connectivity.

According to the officials, there will be twin tunnels of 4.7-km that will passing through SGNP from Film city in Goregaon to Amar Nagar in Mulund area.

In the February 25 meeting with NWB, civic officials said, issues of effects on bio-diversity in SGNP during construction of the tunnels and traffic after the work is completed were raised. “The NWB had suggested that the BMC prepare a report on the effect and also make plan of measures. After this we approached BNHS. For first one year, in all three seasons, the agency will study bio-diversity existing in 500 metres periphery of the proposed tunnel. BNHS will also monitor the effect on construction work for next two years. This will be for two years,” said an official from the BMC. The entire contract is for six years.

Civic body will spend Rs 4.05 crore on the study. The proposal to appoint BNHS will be tabled before Standing Committee on Friday for final approval. Recently, the civic body had invited global expression of interest for the GMLR tunneling work.

1,200 metre-long connecting tunnel

To avoid division of Film City premises due to the proposed Goregon-Mulund Link Road (GMLR), the civic body has proposed to construct a 1,200-metre connecting tunnel. For this, the civic body will spend an additional Rs 65 lakh on the original consultancy contract. According to the officials, in 2016, the civic body had appointed Pedico as a technical consultant to design and plan the tunnel. The original contract was of Rs 2.25 crore.

However, in August, 2017, in a war room meeting, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had instructed civic officials to use cut-and-cover box tunnel to avoid obstruction in Film City area. As per the original proposal, of 14-km GMLR, 1.7-km will pass through Film City premises and then connect to the main tunnel. Now, 1.2-km additional tunnel will be constructed to skirt around the Film City.

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