Worli - Haji Ali sealink gets the green signal

The Union environment ministry on Wednesday sanctioned the construction of the Worli-Haji Ali Sea Link. If everything goes according to plans, work on the project will start by March and is expected to finish by 2014. Clearing the decks for the crucial link, the ministry gave the longawaited green nod to the newly designed alignment of the sea link’s Haji Ali connector that will now land on Dr Annie Besant Road, 400 metres ahead of the dargah square. According to the initial plan, it was to land very close to the Haji Ali chowk. Significantly, the MoEF has also endorsed the location of the controversial Pratiksha building connector on Dr Abdul Gaffar Khan Road in Worli. “The Centre’s nod will facilitate the state and Reliance Infrastructure to kick off work on the project as soon as possible. We expect RInfra to wrap up the work in 32 months as specified during awarding the project,” said MSRDC Minister Jaidutta Kshirsagar. “Clearance for the (Haji Ali) connector was a major hurdle in starting the construction work. The application was pending with the MoEF for more than a year now. Incidentally, the MoEF has already accorded environmental clearance to the entire western freeway sea link from Bandra to Nariman Point,” an official said. “The approved link will cost Rs 4,000 crore and the MSRDC will stand to make a profit of over Rs 240 crore,” the official added. While giving its clearance for the link, the MoEF has asked the MSRDC to provide noise barriers along the connectors so as to minimize the impact of noise levels in residential areas. Residents from Worli had voiced their protest against the project saying it would increase noise pollution in the area. The ministry has also asked the nodal agency to carry out regular road safety audit besides monitoring air and noise pollution levels at areas where the connectors land. It has also asked the state government to take the local traffic police department while the construction work is in progress.

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