The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has decided to go ahead with the plan of constructing the 9 km-long Bandra-Versova Sea Link, which is set to cost over Rs 5,000 crore.
The Bandra-Versova Sea Link, to be built at a cost of over Rs 5,000 crore, will be connected to the Bandra-Worli Sea Link. File pic
It will now appoint a consultant and approach the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) for getting the final clearance. The MSRDC has put forth before the chief minister that the Bandra-Versova Sea Link (BVSL) is a good option to the BMC’s coastal road plan, which is likely to face more opposition from the public.
A senior MSRDC official said, “We want the project to be implemented because the planned coastal road stretch between Bandra and Versova will face huge criticism from locals staying in the koliwadas, and also from environmentalists. So, the sea link will be very useful. We are inviting bids for the appointment of consultants to obtain environment clearance.”
MSRDC has invited bids for consultancy services to obtain environmental clearance for the Bandra-Versova Sea Link project. In January 2014, the BVSL project had received clearance from the cabinet sub-committee on infrastructure headed by then CM Prithviraj Chavan.
Pros and cons
The project, expected to solve commuting problems, has been facing obstacles due to opposition from residents and environmentalists in the western suburbs.
Environmentalists believe that constructing the sea link will disturb the vital and sensitive coastal ecology as well as the mangrove ecosystem. Besides, the residents claimed that the scenic vistas and recreational areas would be disturbed. Last year, the National Green Tribunal had told MSRDC to get a fresh MoEF clearance for BVSL, as just the CRZ clearance was not enough.
The distance between Bandra and Versova is around 10.1 km and in 2014, the project cost was estimated to be between Rs 1,900 crore and Rs 3,000 crore, depending on the design the authorities chose. Now, it is pegged at over Rs 5,000 crore.