The ambitious coastal road from Mumbai's Nariman Point to Kandivali in the Western suburbs will soon be reality. The government has granted environment clearance for a 35-km coastal road project to connect north and south Mumbai.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests, headed by Prakash Javadekar, has granted clearance to the Rs 8,500- crore project that involves coast reclamation. The 35.6 km project between Nariman Point and Kandivali, along the western seafront, is likely to begin in mid-August. The project will help in decongesting Mumbai roads and create 91 hectares of green space.
According to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the coastal stretch will be developed for tourists. The draft notification will be issued by June 15 and the final notification by August 15, and the state government, along with BMC, will finance the project.
Catalyst in decongesting traffic
The road, considered integral to plans for transforming the Mumbai into a world-class city, has been hanging fire for over three years now. Planned as a freeway to connect south Mumbai to the western suburbs through a high-speed corridor, the project was first taken up by former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan as a cheaper alternative to sea links for decongesting vehicular traffic in Mumbai.
The 35-km coastal road was stalled because the state wants to reclaim 110 hectares of land for the road which is against the current provisions of the environmental laws. Current rules prohibit reclaiming land from the sea for road projects. With its focus on clearing infrastructure bottlenecks in the city, the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government had sought Union environment ministry's clearance for the road proposal.
The clearance for the Mumbai coastal road that is expected to considerably de-congest the city, has come with conditions that will ensure coastal and marine life are not hit by the project. Among the conditions proposed are that there will be minimum reclamation of coastal land, no commercial activity to be permitted on reclaimed land and the project should stay clear of the high tide line. The Maharashtra government has agreed to the conditions.
According to experts, the construction of the coastal road is imperative to decongest traffic and would transform Mumbai into a world-class city. It is also being said that environmental concerns with regard to reclaiming land have been exaggerated and it is in Mumbai's interest to build the coastal road. Dotted by promenades, open spaces, cycling tracks and a view of the sea, the road will be uninterrupted by traffic signals. Motorists may be able to zip across the stretch in 45 minutes.
Dutch technical support for infra projects
Earlier last week, the Maharashtra government had signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Netherlands for technical support to develop the Mumbai coastal road and Metro rail projects. A project report on combining the 35-km coastal road between Nariman Point, Kandivali and the Mumbai Metro-III Colaba-Bandra-Santacruz Electronics Export Processing Zone corridor would be ready in three months with the help of experts from the Netherlands.
The coastal road is part of the Rs 60,000-crore transport infrastructure projects being undertaken by the state government.