The Bombay High Court on Thursday ordered the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation not to conduct any reclamation work related to the coastal road project until April 23, reports said. The court was hearing two petitions that expressed concern about the project’s environmental impact.
The project proposes to improve the connectivity between the city’s north and south sections and decongest the western express highway and arterial roads.
The court asked the civic body to avoid taking “any further steps” in areas between Worli sea face and the Worli-end of the sea link. “Do not undertake any new reclamation,” the court said. “Wherever dumping has taken place, the damage has been done. Take no further steps in these areas.”
Gayatri Singh, appearing for the petitioners, claimed that the project did not have an environment clearance. BMC’s counsel Anil Sakhare, however, told the court that the project has received Coastal Regulation Zone approval and does not need environmental clearance.
A report in the Hindustan Times had quoted a marine biodiversity study conducted by SagarShakti that had claimed that the project would harm the 36 intertidal marine species on the Worli shoreline including snails, crabs, oysters, corals, sponges, octopus, sea fans, snappers, mussels, shrimps and rays.
Vijay Singhal, additional municipal commissioner in charge of the coastal road project said the BMC has all the requisite permissions. “We will bring it to the notice of the High Court,” Singhal said. “The work is of very important nature and has to continue. We will follow the directions of the court regarding reclamation and tree-cutting until further hearing. The court said [project-related] work can continue otherwise.”