Work on the crucial bridge is stuck due to the BMC and not the Forest Department, as the civic body would have you believe
The bridge connecting Borivali with the Western Express Highway has been stuck for over a year. Pic/Anurag Ahire
While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is content to point its finger at the Forest Department over the delay in the Shrikrishna Nagar bridge reconstruction, mid-day has found that the delay is actually on part of the BMC itself.
One of the crucial links in the western suburbs, the bridge on the Dahisar river, which joins Shrikrishna Nagar in Borivali to the Western Express Highway, was closed in 2021 after a part of it collapsed. The first half of the bridge was inaugurated in March 2023 after reconstruction, but the second part is still not complete. BMC officials had earlier claimed that the delay was due to the fact that some portions of bridge are on forest land, and a no objection certificate from the Forest Department was yet to arrive.
mid-day, however, has learned that the Forest Department requires a letter from the BMC’s Ward Committee. “After the corporation’s term ended in March last year, there isn’t any Ward Committee. We had sent a letter to the R Central ward office around seven months ago and had also followed up on it, but received no response,” an official from the BMC’s Bridges Department told mid-day.
Following the dissolution of the corporation and no subsequent civic elections, all power now rests with Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal. When contacted, Sandhya Nandedkar, assistant commissioner, R central ward said, “We received a letter from the Bridges Department but we are not sure whether we can put up a proposal about the same. We have sought an opinion from the Municipal Secretary, who will take a legal opinion and let us know.”
A meeting is expected to be held at the Commissioner level on Monday to discuss the bridge, which has been pending for over a year now. A part of it falls under the ambit of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and the BMC had appointed a consultant to obtain the NOC from the Forest Department. The proposal was sent to the Forest Department’s Mumbai office more than a year ago and permission was granted in March this year. The proposal was forwarded to the Forest Department headquarters in Nagpur. However, they will require a letter from the local authority before issuing the permission.
Sources said that only 15 per cent of the bridge is in the forest land and does not affect wildlife, but the land transfer will need the requisite permissions. Even if these are granted now, work on the cannot commence during the rainy season, which means a further delay of at least four months.