13th Nov, 2017
THANE: The ambitious Saket-Gaimukh shoreline road plan drafted by the TMC and MMRDA could possibly run into environmental hurdles after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) recently stayed all construction proposals falling within the coastal zone. Officials have now set their hopes on the forthcoming meeting of the environmental impact assessment committee that could possibly give some direction to the project.
The Pune bench of the NGT had recently ordered a stay on approving construction plans in Coastal Regulation Zones in Thane and Palghar till the state published the draft Coastal Zone Management Plan for the two districts. The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) had then assured the HC it would publish the same by September this year but apparently failed to do the same leading to the stay.
The NGT has further directed the MCZMA to not clear any proposals in the CRZ area in Thane and Palghar till the draft plan is published. Accordingly, officials fear the same could possibly impact the fate of this project whose major portion passes along the coastal belt. The MMRDA and TMC officials had a joint meeting in 2015 for implementing this ambitious project where it was decided that the former would finance the work and secure all permissions while the latter was entrusted with execution.
The 15-km road whose major part passes along the Thane creek was proposed by the TMC for the benefit of out-bound vehicles, especially between Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Pune and Gujarat. The link is scheduled to connect two ends of Thane city - Gaimukh and Saket - bypassing the congested Ghodbunder road. As per the initial plans, the four-lane coastal road could cost approximately Rs 1,000 crore but the same could fluctuate after the final set of approvals arrive.
As majority of the route winds through the Thane creek, there is massive infringement in the mangrove areas and creek zone. The MCZMA had in-principle approved the plans in November last year and suggested the road be constructed on a stilt in the CRZ III affected area. Nearly 10.87kms of the road passes through the sensitive zone. Accordingly, a plan was submitted by the MMRDA to the State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority in July this year whose hearing is scheduled soon.
"We have sought initial clearances from the MCZMA. We are awaiting the SEIAA meeting that could be held anytime this month which could also bring in some clarity on whether we are impacted by the stay or the requisite permissions taken initially by the MCZMA are enough. Already, we are ensuring minimal damage to the environment as a major part of the link will be on stilts, clarified an official associated with the project.
Officials said they will push for the project as it is very important for decongesting Thane. Currently, motorists have to cross the GB stretch, often causing traffic jams at certain areas leading to delays and snarls. Once this link road is started, it will bypass Ghodbunder Road between Gaimukh and National Highway 3. The road will benefit those who want to avoid city traffic and directly go towards Kalyan or Nashik, informed a civic official.
Officials said they will push for the project as it is very important for decongesting Thane city. Currently, motorists have to cross the GB stretch, often causing traffic jams at certain areas leading to delays and snarls. Once this link road is started, it will bypass Ghodbunder (GB) Road between Gaimukh and National Highway 3. The road will benefit those who want to avoid Thane city traffic and directly go towards Kalyan or Nashik.
Source : timesofindia.indiatimes.com