National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2015 had directed MSRDC to get a separate environmental clearance.
Mumbai: In a major boost for the proposed nine-km-long Bandra Versova Sealink (BVSL), the state environment department has granted environment clearance for construction of the Sea Link to the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC).
The plan of a sealink between Bandra and Versova was revived after scrapping the construction of a coastal road between Bandra and Versova following strong opposition from environmentalists and locals of Bandra, Juhu and the fishermen of surrounding areas. Thus, the sealink now becomes a part of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) ambitious plan to construct a coastal road connecting southern and northern ends of the city.
Kiran Kurundkar, joint managing director, MSRDC, said, “We have received the approval letter from the state environment department a week ago and with this we already have the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance from the Union ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) in hand. Also, the evaluation of the bids for the construction of the project is currently ongoing.”
The MSRDC already has the CRZ clearance for the project from the MoEF that is valid up to 2018. However, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2015 had directed MSRDC to get a separate environmental clearance, indicating that mere CRZ clearance was not enough.
“The mitigation measures have to be taken by the corporation for which the environment clearance has been awarded. It includes like that of following norms of air, water and noise pollution along with plantation in accordance to the Environment Protection Act. After this, we would also need clearance from the forest department that would be obtained next,” said a senior MSRDC official.
The MSRDC has set a deadline of 2020 to complete the project with an estimated cost of Rs 7,500 crore. The corporation is in the process to avail financial assistance for the same from national banks or by monetising the 5.6-km-long Bandra Worli Sealink (BWSL). The eight-lane project will be built 900 metres into the sea. It was proposed earlier as the Western Express Highway and SV Road were saturated.