Fresh CRZ nod for Mumbai trans-harbour link

The Centre has re-issued the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) clearance for the 22-km-long Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link project. This is the third CRZ nod granted to the project--the first was in 2005 and the second in 2013.
The CRZ clearance has been re-issued following a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order in October 2015 that suspended the 2013 clearance for six months on the grounds that the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority did not follow procedures properly , discrepancy in the marine areas likely to be affected by the project and its impact on the Karnala Bird Sanctuary not being studied properly .
In a letter to the MMRDA, the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) said, “In compliance with the NGT directions, the proposed transharbour link was considered by the ministry's expert appraisal committee. Based on its recommendations, the environment ministry accords CRZ clearance to the project.“
MMRDA commissioner UPS Madan said the clearance will allow construction of the bridge in CRZ I, III and IV areas.
The NGT said the letter is subject to compliance of specific and general conditions.Among the specific conditions, the MoEF has asked the MMRDA to obtain the requisite forest clearance (FC) for diversion of 47.41 hectare forest land.“The project may be executed in the entire non-forest land, and while making application for forest clearance, the execution of work on non-forest land shall not be cited as a reason for grant of FC. In case, FC is declined, the forest land shall be maintained in its existing condition,“ said the ministry , and asked the MMRDA to submit an undertaking to this effect at the earliest.
With the MoEF , on Saturday , finalizing the eco-sensitive zo ne for Karnala Bird Sanctuary to up to 8 km from the boundary obtaining clearance from the NGT would not be difficult now.
Meanwhile, the MMRDA plans to begin geo-technical investigations in February , the loan agreement with JAICA will be signed by March and thereafter the finalization of bids would take four to five months Work is expected to start in November, said officials.
According to the conditions laid down by the forest advisory committee, the work must be completed within three years and six months from the date of commencement. CM Devendra Fadnavis has said the work will be completed by 2019.

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