Mumbai’s Coastal Road could get longer

BMC seeks clearance to reclaim 21 more hectares, marine ecology, livelihood of fisherfolk under threat


Mumbai’s much debated Coastal Road Project that aims to connect Marine Drive to Worli could get longer from the currently proposed 9.98 kilometers to 10.58 kilometers. The project that has been under the scanner for its impact on marine ecology and livelihood of local fisherfolk, will now also require reclamation of an additional 21 hectares.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) held a meeting with the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) and informed them that the proposed changes were due to considerations of curvature and minor differences in ramp positions reported Indian Express. “The modifications in the alignment and design of the MCRP-South (Mumbai Coastal Road Project) will not lead to any additional impacts on the environment,” claimed the BMC’s application.

The BMC reportedly listed 28 points for amendment in the CRZ clearance the project received in 2017. Of the 28, 24 proposed amendments are new and not part of the clearance application in 2017. However, IE reports that BMC clarified that only 6.51 hectare will be additionally reclaimed, as the remaining 14.49 hectare required is for the sea wall, which was already a part of the project but “not detailed” or mentioned in the 2017 application seeking CRZ clearance.

The project cost estimates have been steadily escalating since the idea was originally floated. At present they are said to be more than Rs 12,000 crores!

Coastal Road and the Courts

It is noteworthy that on April 23, 2019 the Bombay High Court ordered that all reclamation work for Mumbai’s coastal road be paused and that the status quo be maintained until June 3. The bench was hearing public interest litigations filed by Society for Improvement, Greenery and Nature, an NGO, and activist Shweta Wagh. The Independent People’s Tribunal (IPT) on Mumbai’s Coast Road had previously released an exhaustive report regarding the project and its many, many pitfalls and potential adverse effects. The report paints a grim picture of a project that has no clear purpose, will serve only a small fraction of an increasingly crowded city, and could have disastrous effects on Mumbai’s ecology and coastline. 

Subsequently, the Bombay High court set aside the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance for the much-hyped Coastal Road project. A Division Bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice NM Jamdar was hearing a batch of petitions filed in response to the CRZ clearance granted by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in May 2017. Petitioners objected to the construction of a proposed 10 kilometer long stretch from Marine Drive to Bandra, stating that it would cause damage to the coastline as well as marine life in the region. It is noteworthy that BMC’s Wednesday meeting was in regard to the same stretch.  

It is also noteworthy that last year on July 22, the Bombay High court set aside the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance for the wider project that aims to connect Marine Drive in South Mumbai to the northern suburb of Kandivali. Then in a huge shot in the arm for Mumbai’s fisher-folk, residents of coastal neighbourhoods and environmental conservation organisations, the Supreme Court refused to strike down the July 22, 2019, order passed by the Bombay High Court that makes environmental clearance mandatory for the ambitious Mumbai Coastal Road Project.

What happens now?

Given how changes have been proposed in many aspects of the project, activists feel that the BMC should submit a fresh proposal and seek consultation as is mandated by law whenever developmental projects need to be undertaken in regions where the lives and livelihood of people are likely to be impacted adversely. Activist Shweta Wagh, one of the petitioners against the project, told IE, “The sea wall was not part of the original plan for which CRZ clearance was granted. This additional work amounts to a change in the project profile. So, the BMC should make a fresh application for clearance.”

Activists also took to Twitter to express their disappointment and educate their fellow Mumbaikars about the adverse impacts of the project:




Bombay High Court stays work on Mumbai’s coastal road
Bombay HC hits the brakes on Coastal Road project, quashes CRZ clearance
SC refuses to stay Bombay HC judgment on Coastal Road



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