Bombay HC Quashes Coastal Regulation Zone Clearances To Rs 14,000 Crore Road Project
The Bombay High Court on July 16, set aside the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances granted to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) ambitious coastal road project.
The high court’s ruling means that the BMC cannot continue to work on the 29.2 km-long project. The project is to connect the Marine Drive area in south Mumbai to suburban Borivali in north Mumbai and decongest the western express.
The bench headed by Cheif Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice NM Jamdar said, “ We have held that the environment clearance is required for the project.” The bench said that the civic body needs to procure an environmental clearance under Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification. The court also asked the BMC to obtain permission under the Wildlife (Protection) Act -1972.
The high court was hearing a bunch of petitions filed by activists, residents and fishermen challenging the ambitious project. The petitioners claimed that the reclamation work undertaken in the project was illegal and would change coastal biodiversity and traditional ecological practices.
Senior Advocate Janak Dwarakadas, who was representing the petitioners during the hearing said that the project lacked in several clearances and permissions including those from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee.
Dwarakadas has argued that the southern part of the project from Princess Street to the Worli end had proceeded on the basis of the clearance given by Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) in 2017, but was not enough to proceed with the project. The high court refused the BMC’s counsel Darius Khambata request to stay of the order to appeal in the Supreme Court.
In April, the high court asked the BMC to not to continue work on the project. However, the BMC approached the Supreme Court. The top court then ordered the civic body to carry out existing work but prohibited from taking any new work in the project. The top court had asked the Bombay high court to take up the matter for the final hearing.