Versova link update
The Bandra-Versova sea link received the go-ahead from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA). The authority also approved the offsite infrastructure for the Navi Mumbai international airport. Both the projects have been approved under the new Coastal Regulation Zone norms of 2011, said T C Benjamin, principal secretary, urban development. The MCZMA will now write to the Union environment ministry to allow the construction of the two projects, said Valsa Nair-Singh, secretary, environment. The go-ahead from the MCZMA is considered a virtual green signal from the Union environment ministry as well. ‘‘It is a 9.6-km sea link with two connectors,’’ said a senior official from the state environment department. The construction of this section, at current prices, is estimated to cost Rs 2,000 crore. The offsite infrastructure for the Navi Mumbai international airport which was approved by the MCZMA includes non-aeronautical infrastructure such as warehouses, railway terminal, official quarters, arterial roads etc. The infrastructure has now been approved to be set up on 450 hectares outside the perimeter of the airport.
In a fresh amendment to the city’s road plans, the proposed 10-km Bandra-Versova coastal road corridor may be extended by 8 km up to Malad, towards the north of the city, and in further phases up to Virar, a distance of about 46 km. The proposal came up based on a draft report of a joint technical committee (JTC) constituted by the state government to study technical, financial and environmental feasibilities of road options along the city’s coast. The report, sources said, enthused administrators as it recommends coastal roads on reclaimed land and stilts, besides a link portion which has a mangrove patch. “We will put up concrete proposals before the next infrastructure sub-committee for extensions up to Malad and Virar. Most road alignments on these sections will help us in the development of the project. Wherever mangroves confront us with an alignment, a stilt road or link can be built,” said Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) managing director Bipin Shrimali. MSRDC has estimated the cost of the 54-km Versova-Virar coastal road to be around Rs 4,000 crore. The JTC concluded that there was a strong case for constructing a coastal freeway between Malad and Versova, and between Versova and Nariman Point via Bandra and Worli. The cost from Bandra to Versova will be around Rs 1,500 crore. The report has pointed to reclamation in Singapore for coastal roads and has recommended it besides the coastal road on stilt and sea link (like the Bandra-Worli sea link) options for the entire stretch. The committee feels the need of the road (coastal) or freeway (sealink or road on stilts) along the coastline from Nariman Point to Malad is not under dispute. Further, there should be a plan to connect the road to the upcoming eastern freeway on P D’Mello Road via Cuffe Parade and Colaba. This portion will then be attached to the Nhava-Sewri link road at Sewri, and will go further up to Ghatkopar via Chembur and Mankhurd. Comprehensive transportation studies by international consultants had recommended roads up to Versova and further up to Virar, but the need for taking up different sections was still under debate among experts and engineers of the state government. The road will reduce congestion and travel time and will be a long-term solution as it will help keep traffic revolving in and around Mumbai.