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Supreme Court upholds stay on Mumbai’s coastal road project

Mumbai coastal road project: Supreme Court refuses to stay Bombay HC’s decision quashing CRZ clearance

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Mumbai coastal road project is in news once again. The honourable Supreme Court refuses to stay Bombay HC’s decision quashing CRZ clearance on the controversial project. The court has set 20 August as next date of hearing. The courts decision was hailed by the environmentalists who have been protesting against it.

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The Supreme Court of India issued a notice to the Maharashtra government. This was on the plea of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) seeking a stay on the Bombay High Court’s order of quashing the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances. The clearance was given for the southern part of BMC’s coastal road project. A Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta has refused to stay the order and has highlighted the BMC’s plea for hearing on 2o August.

On Tuesday, the Bombay High Court had stopped work on the coastal road project. The High Court had stopped BMC from proceeding with work on the project, stating that it must get environmental clearance under an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification.

A bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Nitin Jamdar highlighted the issue of corals despite their “minuscule presence” at Haji Ali and Worli. Besides, the project also requires approvals under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

The High Court added that the area has geo-morphological features which play a role in maintaining the integrity of species. They had said that Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MGCM) could not start the work without obtaining permission under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

For the uninitiated, the proposed coastal road is to start from the Princess Street flyover, move northward via a tunnel beneath Malabar Hill and Nepean Sea Road. The tunnel opens at the seashore near Priyadarshani Park from where reclamation commences till the Worli-Bandra sea link is reached at Worli. From the Bandra side of the sea link, the road proceeds further north towards Versova. The project was proposed in order to reduce congestion on roads and act as a freeway between south and north Mumbai.

As per environmentalists, 90 hectares of land was permitted for reclamation whereas only 20 hectares is required for the road. The petitioners claim that the remaining 70 hectares will be used to create land which is very harmful to the biodiversity and will lead to excessive flooding in Mumbai because of the aggressive force of the sea.

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