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Peddar Road flyover caught in a design row

Failing twice to get an environmental nod for the contentious Peddar Road flyover,the nodal agency is dragging its feet on this non-starter project.

Written by Swapnil Rawal | Mumbai |
May 10, 2009 10:07:21 pm

Environmental clearance: Coastal zone authority seeks alteration; nodal agency to submit proposal again

Failing twice to get an environmental nod for the contentious Peddar Road flyover,the nodal agency is dragging its feet on this non-starter project. Despite being asked by the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) to rework the design of the viaduct portion intruding into Girgaum chowpatty,the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) will resubmit the proposal with the same design.

With the Bandra-Worli Sea Link expected to be commissioned by June,the quick,enhanced dispersal system to south Mumbai still rests in the government files. “We will try to convince the committee to allow the same design as the sharper turn would bring down the speed of vehicles considerably,” reasoned S M Gavai,vice-chairman and managing director,MSRDC. According to MSRDC officials,the current curve at Chowpatty with two piers on the beach brings down the speed to around 35 kmph. If the curve is constructed sharper,it is expected that the average speed would come down to around 12-15 kmph,which could cause a bottleneck on the flyover.

Last July,a committee had rejected the MSRDC’s design of the proposed flyover,which juts seven meters into the beach and pegs two pillars on Chowpatty,throwing the flyover back on to the drawing boards eight years after it was mooted. Earlier in 2006,too,the MCZMA,state agency that oversees all coastal construction activities,had rejected permission to the flyover on similar grounds.

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Nearly 10 months after the proposal was rejected,the MSRDC still hasn’t gone back to the committee with the proposal for its clearance. “Since then (July) they haven’t come back to the committee for Peddar Road flyover clearance,” said Valsa R. Nair Singh,chairperson and secretary (environment) and chairperson of MCZMA. According to her,it will be difficult to give clearance for the project without the necessary changes in the design. “Since the committee had rejected the proposal and had asked MSRDC to rework the design of the Chowpatty portion,it is not likely to get a clearance without a change in design,” she said.

Once the proposal is cleared by MCZMA,it will be sent to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for further clearances. With many clearances to be obtained,the road ahead for the Rs 135-crore project seems long and uncertain. Senior MSRDC officials believe even if these environmental nods are obtained,the construction of the project will not take off until 2010 as five flyovers are under construction on Dr B A Ambedkar Road.

The hurdles for the state government don’t end there: the project has been facing stiff opposition from local residents.

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