Mumbai: Coastal Road halted; HC says BMC cannot proceed without environmental clearance
Bombay High Court says BMC cannot proceed without obtaining environmental clearance; environmentalists delighted with move
The Bombay High court on Tuesday set aside the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) clearance given to the R14,000 crore coastal road project of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), and said it cannot proceed with the work without obtaining environmental clearance. This means they will have to stop the ongoing work on the road, a move environmentalists and petitioners who filed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) have welcomed. While activists said that the court has said BMC will have to get environment clearance for the project, the civic body is said to appeal in the Supreme Court.
Environmentalists had approached the HC alleging that the project will have a negative impact on the west coast and marine eco system. According to an activist, "The Bombay High Court has held that the coastal road work has been proceeding illegally (without requisite permission). The HC has quashed (cancelled) the CRZ permission and held that an environmental clearance was mandatory. The HC has said that no further work can be done by BMC on the coastal road project."
Environmentalist Zoru Bhathena said, "We are definitely pleased that the HC agreed our coast deserves to be protected from such reckless environmental damage. Sad that we have to keep fighting the government over such issues. Surely the government can work in a more environmentally friendly way. There is no need to reclaim and destroy 1 sq km of the sea to make a road."
A study done by SagarShakti - the marine research division of NGO Vanashakti - had found that the ambitious project poses a direct threat to 36 intertidal marine species that thrive on the shoreline near Worli. The team of researchers which carried out the study between Worli Dairy and Bandra-Worli sea link, had found that the marine life here includes snappers, sea snails, rays, corals, sponges, mussels, crabs, oysters etc and some of these were Schedule-1 species listed in the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Debi Goenka of the Conservation Action Trust said, "I am delighted. The High Court has upheld our contentions that an environmental clearance was required, a wild life clearance was required, and that the CRZ clearance was granted without proper application of mind. A big thanks to our legal team."
'Need marine biodiversity study'
Shaunak Modi, a member of Marine Life of Mumbai (MLoM) said, "There is an immediate need for a thorough long-term marine biodiversity study along Mumbai's coastline. Thousands of creatures that live in the intertidal and subtidal ecosystems will be affected by the coastal road."
The length of the coastal road
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