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Bombay High Court asks BMC to maintain status quo on coastal roadwork

May 2019
The Bombay High Court has directed Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to stop coastal roadwork and maintain a status quo till June 3.

A division bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice NM Jamdar heard five petitions filed by Worli Koliwada Nakhwa, Vanashakti, Collective for Spatial Alternatives member Shweta Wagh, Conservation Action Trust, and Society for Improvement, Greenery and Nature. The project has been opposed on the grounds that it poses a risk to the environment and the livelihood of the fisher community. 

Reports suggest that a deputy director at the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) filed an affidavit questioning the grant of coastal regulation zone (CRZ) clearance and whether an environment clearance was required under the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA). The affidavit also mentioned that, in May 2017, the MoEFCC had accorded the CRZ clearance with adequate environmental safeguards to be implemented and compiled by the BMC. The BMC is also expected to periodically carry our specific studies through the National Institute of Oceanography, during and after the construction of the project. CW has learnt that certain studies that had to be carried out have been missed; hence, the court has advised the BMC to commence those studies.

That said, matters are reportedly expected to settle down by October. However, no BMC official was available for comment. 

What’s more, another affidavit has been reportedly filed stating the BMC had submitted that no rehabilitation and resentment is involved for the 9.9-km coastal road (south) project. Once the ministry was fine with the recommendations of the expert appraisal committee, CRZ clearance was granted. 

Further, as reported, the BMC has also filed an affidavit in one of the matters, which created confusion about paperwork pertaining to the petitions. The bench, on the basis of this, reportedly directed the registrar general (judiciary) to sort all the paperwork and affidavits into a file to identify the pleadings by the counsel.