Metro and BRTS add to green activists' concerns

Feb 08, 2015, 04:21 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

The state government plans to add two more lanes to the proposed six-lane coastal road project for a metro line and Bus Rapid Transport System. According to experts this will affect the environment

Activists worried about the damage to the environment caused by proposed coastal road project on the west coast of Mumbai, now have added reason to worry. Along with the proposed six-lane road for the project, the state government also plans to come up with an additional two lanes to construct a metro line as well as a Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS).

It should be noted that the coastal road project already requires reclamation of 110 hectares for the construction of the six lanes. The project requires a nod from the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), as it comes under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ). The MoEF seems inclined towards clearing the project and plans to make amendments to the CRZ rule so that the project receives clearance. The estimated cost of the project is R9,000 crore, while the other two projects,including the metro and the BRTS, will cost Rs 7,000 crore.

Negative impact on environment
Environmentalists feel that adding two more lanes to the coastal road for the metro and BRTS will have a further negative impact on the environment, as debris will be dumped in the sea. Stalin Dayanand from NGO Vanshakti told sunday mid-day, “We can already see that there is an increase in the level of sea water due to this. It could result in water logging during the monsoons.” Marine life would also be affected as a result of this, he says. “The debris could contain harmful chemicals which can prove to be dangerous for marine life. The same will also be harmful for humans as many Mumbaikars eat the fish that is caught from the west coast of Mumbai,” he said.

They are also worried that the scenic beauty of the coastline will be marred with the construction of these projects. They allege that there has been no proper study for the construction of the coastal road and the metro along the same route. Environmentalist Rishi Agarwal said: “The present government seems least interested about the environment or else, they would have never agreed to the coastal road project. The west coast of Mumbai is known for its scenic beauty and beaches and will lose its charm if the coastal road and metro project comes up.”

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