While the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) project connecting Sewri with Nhava Sheva recently received final CRZ Environment clearance, it will not come cheap for the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).
The project involves construction of a bridge across the Mumbai harbour between Sewri Navi Mumbai.
The Environment Ministry has asked MMRDA to spend over R300 crore as part of an Environment Management Plan (EMP). MMRDA will also have to do a mangrove restoration plan under it, with the help of the Forest Department by spending R25 crore. Other work which is part of the EMP includes constructing noise barriers at a cost of R45 crore, monthly bird monitoring at Rs 4 crore, installing LEDs on the MTHL for R10 crore, R8 crore for landscaping, for plantation of trees and flowering plants along the bridge.
The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) issued the final Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) clearance to MMRDA on January 25 with 15 conditions, which MMRDA will have to follow, while implementing the project. MMRDA received the letter on January 29.
“MMRDA has always believed in having an environment-friendly approach while taking up infrastructure projects in Mumbai and Mumbai Metropolitan Region, and we will follow the same while implementing the MTHL project. We will follow the measures suggested by MoEFCC while giving us the final CRZ clearance,” said Dilip Kawathkar, Joint Project Director, MMRDA.
However, the final clearance has not come so easily. The copy of the CRZ clearance letter, that is in possession of mid-day, states, “Adequate provision for infrastructure facilities including water supply, fuel and sanitation must be ensured for construction workers during the construction phase of the project to avoid any damage to the environment.”
MMRDA has also been asked to submit a six-monthly monitoring report to the Regional Office of the Environment Ministry at Nagpur regarding the implementation of the conditions.
One of the points from the letter reads, “The Ministry reserves the right to revoke this clearance if any of the conditions stipulated are not complied with to the satisfaction of the Ministry.”
It has also been clearly mentioned in the letter that if there is a change in project profile, or in the implementation agency, a fresh reference shall be made to the MoEFCC.
MMRDA has also been asked to submit a copy of the clearance letter to concerned Panchayats and local NGOs along with a copy of the CRZ clearance, which should be displayed on the website of the concerned State Pollution Control Board.
The EMP conditions for MMRDA include
>> Implementation of suggestions given by BNHS at a cost of R25 crore.
>> An Oil Spill Mitigation Plan at R10 crore.
>> Rs 20 crore for carrying out detailed habitat quality monitoring of mudflats, migratory birds, marine flora and fauna and surveillance study.
>> Rs 75 crore for compensating affected fisher folk community welfare, etc
>> Rs 15 crore for setting up safety measures and security measures including telecommunication systems, safety boats, wireless communications etc for emergency
>> Rs 10 crore for establishing a nature interpretation centre for training and workshops for school and colleges.
>> Rs 15 crore for buying necessary equipment, Quick Response Vehicles etc for implementation of the detailed DMP
>> Rs 40 crore for mitigation of marine water pollution caused due to the surrounding industries and sewage from urban bodies, by providing funding and capacity building for enabling effluent treatment
>> Rs 8 crore for environmental monitoring - air, water, noise levels
The MTHL connecting Sewri with Nhava Sheva, will be a six-lane bridge across the Mumbai Harbour and it will help in solving congestion by improving connectivity between the Island City and main land (Navi Mumbai). The project involves construction of a bridge across the Mumbai Harbour between Sewri on the island city side (in the Mumbai Port Trust area) and Chirle on the Navi Mumbai side. The link is about 22 km long with a 16.5 km bridge across the sea and a 5.5-km-long viaduct on the land. The exit and entry into the six lanes and freeway would be through interchanges at the end points and at the intermediate points on the Navi Mumbai side.