Mumbai Coastal Road: SC Asks BMC To Stick To Approved Plan
The Supreme Court has indicated it may not revise its December 2019 order, through which it allowed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to reclaim land for the Mumbai Coastal Road project. It has, however, told the development body to apply for fresh approvals, in case it plans to claim more than the 90 hectares of land approved for the mega project.
Through an interim order passed on December 17, 2019, the apex court stayed a Bombay High Court order which had prohibited the BMC from going ahead with the project work. The Bombay HC had raised questions on the environmental approvals granted to the development body and the project executioner, Larsen & Toubro Ltd. Subsequently, the BMC and L&T moved the SC, seeking relief. While allowing it to reclaim land, the SC, through its December verdict, however, directed the BMC to not carry out any development work for the project till further orders.
During the hearing on October 7, 2020, senior advocate Shyam Divan told the SC that the BMC and the proponents of the projects were not only reclaiming excess land for the Coastal Road but also making qualitative changes in its profile, consequently turning it into a new development project. Since no approvals had been sought for the changes made in the ongoing alterations in the plan, the BMC ought to seek fresh approval to continue with the land reclamation, Divan told the SC.
“The clearance was only for 90 hectares. Anybody who is constructing, should be on notice that everything is subject to final orders,” the SC said, referring to the claim that the BMC was claiming nearly 111 hectares of land for the project work. As the hearing on October 7, 2020, remained inconclusive, the top court has posted the matter for further hearing on October 16, 2020.
Here is all you need to know about the project.
Phases: Likely to be ready by 2023, Phase-I or the south section will run from Princess Street Flyover near Marine Lines to the south-end of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link (BWSL) while Phase-II or the north section will end at Kandivali in northwest Mumbai. There are plans to extend the road till Marve and Ghodbunder Road.
Estimated cost: The total cost of the development has been projected at Rs 14,000 crore.
Features: The project plan had undergone a transformation from initially being just a bypass route to an eight-lane multi-modal transport route with bridges, bus rapid transit system corridors across two lanes, (BRTS), a 3.4-km tunnel (from Khar Danda to Juhu) and interchanges at various locations like Haji Ali, Worli, Breach Candy Hospital and Bandra.
Moreover, there will be public spaces such as cycle tracks, promenades, pedestrian underpass or foot overbridges at every 500 metres, advanced parking facilities and recreational zones.
Controversy: The project was faced with opposition right from the day it was proposed in 2011. Environmentalists are concerned about the removal of several mangrove patches and forests land in the process. Some experts have also said that such roads might impact tidal circulation. Some architects and urban planners feel this will be an apparent danger to the city coastline and the overall beauty of the island city.
The benefits: For a shrinking city such as Mumbai, the pressure on infrastructure is much more than ever before. Those favouring the project say the coastal road plan would ease connectivity across the city by serving as a ring road.
Impact on real estate: The government is optimistic that the proposed infrastructure will bolster the creation of several central business districts (CBDs) around the corridor. It will also open avenues for many investment and housing opportunities as more land parcels will be unlocked for real estate developments. Aimed at decongesting the western express highway, the coastal road will also link the Ahmedabad Highway via the Mira Bhayender Road. Micro-markets, which are most likely to see positive impact from this project include Mira Road, Bhayandar, Bandra, Versova, etc.