Mumbai coastal road project: Supreme Court refuses to stay Bombay HC’s decision quashing CRZ clearance, next hearing on 20 Aug

Mumbai coastal road project: Supreme Court refuses to stay Bombay HC’s decision quashing CRZ clearance, sets 20 Aug as next date of hearing

The Supreme Court of India has issued a notice to Maharashtra government on plea of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) seeking stay on the Bombay High Court's order of quashing the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances given for the southern part of BMC's coastal road project. A Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta has refused to stay the order and has highlighted the BMC's plea for hearing on 2o August.

On Tuesday, the Bombay High Court had stopped work on the coastal road project, underlining “a serious lacuna in the decision-making process” and “lack of proper scientific study". The High Court had stopped BMC from proceeding with work on the project, stating that it must get environmental clearance under a Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification.

A bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Nitin Jamdar highlighted the issue of corals despite their “miniscule presence” at Haji Ali and Worli. Besides, the project also requires approvals under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

The High Court added that the area is ecologically sensitive and has geo-morphological features which play a role in maintaining the integrity of species and that Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MGCM) could not start the work without obtaining permission under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

The Indian Express reported that the proposed coastal road is to start from the Princess Street flyover, move northward via a tunnel beneath Malabar Hill and Nepean Sea Road. The tunnel opens at the seashore near Priyadarshani Park from where reclamation commences till the Worli-Bandra sea link is reached at Worli. From the Bandra side of the sea link, the road proceeds further north towards Versova. The project was proposed in order to reduce congestion on roads and act as a free way between south and north Mumbai.

Darius Khambata, from the BMC was quoted as saying by The Indian Express that “various transport reports brought out that the only way to decongest existing roads, and for traffic to move smoothly, was to construct the coastal road”. However, the court’s judgment has highlighted environmental barriers for stopping the construction of the coastal road project.

Updated Date: Jul 26, 2019 14:23:31 IST