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Three transport projects, all in the lurch

Experts believe that the construction of the Bandra-Versova Sea Link is not required if the government goes ahead with the coastal road project. The West Coast Water Transport project, too, has been in the pipeline for years

While the implementation of the arterial coastal road project connecting Nariman Point with Kandivli is expected to pick up speed with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government coming to power in the centre, the lack of coordination within the government seems to remain unresolved as the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) also has plans to go ahead with the construction of the Bandra Versova Sea Link (BVSL).

Bandra-Versova Sea Link

Transport experts feel that the sea link is not required if the coastal road is constructed. On the other hand, environmentalists have been opposing the coastal road, saying that it will destroy the scenic beauty of the west coastline of the city.

Transport expert Jitendra Gupta told sunday mid-day, “There is a lack of coordination between government agencies. If that was not the case, the MSRDC would not have announced its plan of extending the Bandra Worli Sea Link up to Versova, when the government has already shown keen interest in constructing the coastal road.

This is nothing but a waste of public money. Also, there is no need of constructing a coastal road as the MSRDC has plans to start the water transport services between Versova and Nariman point.” Experts also believe that constructing a coastal road will not be an easy task.

Krishna Tiwari from Forest and Wildlife Conservation Centre told sunday mid-day, “The construction will have a negative impact on the coastline of Mumbai.” He said that in order to build the coastal road, reclamation of land would be required, which will result in destruction of the mangroves.

Sources in the government, however, say that apart from the Congress-headed state government, the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party controlled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) too wants the project done.

Travelling over water

Coastal Road: The 35-km coastal freeway from Nariman Point to Kandivli is a cheaper alternative to the expensive sea links, which according to some officials, take more time to complete. The freeway would be a combination of roads on stilts, widened existing roads and tunnels. Although reclamation would be the cheapest way to go, it would not be used throughout. Three tunnels have been proposed, one each under Marine Drive, Malabar Hill and Juhu aerodrome.   
West Coast Water Transport: The Inland Passenger Water Transport project on the west coast connecting Nariman Point to Borivli having six terminals has been in the pipeline for many years. The project has already received environment clearance from Ministry of Environment and Forest in 2013. The MSRDC has finalised the contractor but it has to issue orders to the contractor once it receives approval from the cabinet committee on infrastructure headed by CM Prithviraj Chavan.
Bandra-Versova Sea Link: The BVSL has got the final clearance from the cabinet sub-committee on infrastructure in the month of February 2014. The distance between Bandra and Versova is approximately 10.1 km and the project would cost between Rs 1,900 crore to Rs 3,000 crore.

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