The Environment Ministry's Experts' Appraisal Committee (EAC) has asked the MMRDA to strictly comply with coastal regulatory zone guidelines during commissioning of the much-delayed Rs 11,500-crore Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) project.

The committee, while granting the coastal regulatory zone clearance, said the environment management plan submitted by the MMRDA should be implemented in consultation with all the stakeholders.

The 22-km link connecting Sevri and Nhava aims at decongesting and reducing pollution by providing an alternate road link. It also aims at providing faster and easier flow of traffic and reducing congestion on the mainland.

The EAC further noted that "the project shall be carried out strictly in accordance with the CRZ provisions and shall not affect the coastal ecology of the area including flora and fauna. Also, MMRDA shall obtain all permissions from concerned authorities prior to commencement of the project, and shall observe all safety requirements onshore and offshore". 

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is expected to float global tenders to invite consultants for the project by the end of January.  

Last week, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had said the project has received all the clearances and that the government will formally complete all the talks with JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) related to the financing of the project, in addition to beginning the tenders process by March. 

JICA had earlier agreed to fund 80 per cent of the estimated project cost of Rs 11,000 crore, while the remaining 20 per cent was proposed to be made available by the Centre.