The Centre on Wednesday issued its final notification to clear the Maharashtra government’s ambitious plan to build a Rs 12,000-crore road along Mumbai’s coast. The ministry of environments and forests approved the state’s request to reclaim coastal land to build the 33.2-km road, which will span from Nariman Point to Kandivali. Chief Ministry Devendra Fadnavis has been pushing for these approvals, along with other big-ticket infrastructure projects, ever since he came to power in 2014.
The coastal road project has been stalled for several years because the environment ministry allowed land reclamation only for ports and harbours, and not for roads. The Maharashtra needed 90 hectares of sea land for its project. With Wednesday's notification, the ministry has decided to ease up on this rule.
City officials have hailed the plan to build the road claiming it will reduce traffic congestion and provide a “fifth corridor” to the cramped Mumbai transit system. Experts, however, have said that the plan is flawed – it does not consider the disruption of the environment and local communities, and will serve only the city’s rich car-owners.