MUMBAI: The proposed 9.89-km Bandra-Versova sea link has got an environmental clearance.
Though the clearance was given last October before the term of the state environment impact assessment authority (SEIAA) expired, it was issued only in February. The issuance was delayed as the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) had not fulfilled all requirements.“Now that MSRDC has complied with all requirements, the clearance has been issued,“ said Satish Gavai, principal secretary, environment department. However, activists pointed out that no public consultations were held for the Versova-Bandra stretch. “Since fresh terms of reference (ToR) were issued in February 2016, there should have been public consultations,“ said advocate Zaman Ali.
R Moppalwar, managing director of MSRDC, said, “In 2013, we held extensive public consultations and were issued the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) clearance only thereafter. As the project extends over 20,000 sq m into the sea and it requires a CRZ clearance.
He said that in case of bridges, no environmental clearance is required. But the National Green Tribunal has directed that environmental clearances be obtained for the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link as well as the Bandra-Versova sea link projects. “The MMRDA has challenged the order in the Supreme Court, where the Centre has clarified that no environmental clearance is needed. But we preferred to seek the environmental clearance and we have got it,“ he said, adding that since the sea-link is an area development project, there is no need for public consultation.
The SEIAA, while granting the environmental clearance, had said that it is subject to obtaining a no objection certificate (NOC) from the forest and wildlife board and the condition that no mangroves will be destroyed. Moppalwar said that the MSRDC will issue a `request for proposal’ in the next couple of days and financial bids would take another three months. “We shall begin construction by October,“ he said.
Credits ET Realty