Mumbai Coastal Road: BMC files SLP against HC’s order

Days after Bombay high court halted all work on its ambitious Rs.12,000 crore, 30 km coastal road project, Mumbai’s civic corporation filed a special leave petition against the judgment that has held as illegal the three coastal zone regulation clearances given in 2017.

The challenge is primarily on the grounds that the high court arrived at an “erroneous finding” on July 16 that it is not a “road project” but a “township and area development”. It is a classification that thus independently requires mandatory prior environmental clearance under a 2006 environmental impact assessment notification.

The new EC will require a year-long EIA study and report with variable terms of reference and public hearing.

The road is proposed from Nariman Point to Kandivli, in two phases, on reclaimed land.

On Monday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the SLP on Thursday after the BMC said its oral plea for a stay was not granted. “Stopping the project work at this stage will cause a significant loss and is not in public interest,” stated the BMC plea. The high court judgment had accepted the challenge raised in five public interest litigation by environmentalists and fishermen to the clearance given to the coastal road project.

Merely 20 hectares of the 90 hectares to be reclaimed is to be used for the coastal road. The rest is meant for “green spaces for parks, cycle tracks, promenade, butterfly parks, bus depot etc—a purpose other than the road,” it said. The "sheer volume of the area—90 hectare—would require the activity to be treated as an area development project,” the court had held, “erronerously”, stated the plea. It added the additional green open spaces are “only because” the coastal road alignment of 19.3 km, including interchanges, must have “gentle curves, not sharp angles’’. It stated it “gave undertakings on affidavit to the high court that this open land will not be utilized for development activities or for any building amenities permissible under Development Control Regulations but will be preserved for use by public as open green spaces.’’

No comments: