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i-maritime Newsletter

Chavan for coastal ring road in Mumbai - 2011-10-03


The Maharashtra Chief Minister, Mr Prithviraj Chavan, has expressed hope that the Centre will give nod to the proposal of coastal ring road in the city.
Mr Chavan, who got his top bureaucrats to make a presentation to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, on infrastructure development in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) yesterday, said constructing coastal road by reclaiming land from the sea was not a new concept.
“It has been done earlier with the Marine Drive promenade (south Mumbai) 40 years ago and no ecological problems have been faced,” the Chief Minister said here last night.
Mr Chavan also said the State would not opt for stilt roads, that are the only permitted ones under Coastal Regulation Zone rules, because of security issues. Notably, the rules currently do not permit coastal roads.
“As per the latest CRZ rules, coastal roads are not allowed. Only road on stilt can be constructed. We won't go for stilt road because there are security issues,” he said.
“We are keen that the Planning Commission meeting on October 15 and 16 discusses our proposal and grants in-principle nod. After that we can approach the environment ministry for other clearances,” Mr Chavan said.
The Mumbai Municipal Commissioner, Mr Subodh Kumar, is heading a committee to study the feasibility of coastal ring road or highway in Mumbai and the report in this regard is expected to be ready in about two months. The coastal road proposal is being discussed for the last several years in the State.
“What is important is a policy decision in respect of coastal roads. We will need at least Rs 6,000-7,000 crore for it. The coastal ring road, with west to east connectivity, will have tunnels, link roads, coastal roads and stilt road where mangroves grow. It is estimated that the land—fill will be around 42 hectares,” he said.
Mr Chavan said South Korea had reclaimed 1,550 sq km area, Singapore 135 sq km, Hong Kong 86 sq km, Netherlands 7,000 sq km, New York 92 acres and Tokyo 205 acres. No city in the country is eligible to be an international financial centre other than Mumbai, he said.
“The city's problem is unique...it has no space to expand. Mumbai is the engine of growth for the Indian economy,” he said, admitting that land acquisition was emerging as a serious problem. There was growing opposition to the overland metro in Mumbai, he said, adding that the third phase onwards, the government will have to consider underground line.
Giving account of several infrastructure projects that are under way, Mr Chavan said the Alibag-Virar multi-nodal corridor will cost Rs 10,000 crore, Mumbai trans harbour link Rs 10,000 crore, underground metro Rs 18,000 crore, coastal freeway Rs 6,000 crore, Rajiv Aawas Yojana Rs 40,000 crore and the water supply schemes Rs 24,000 crore, Navi Mumbai airport Rs 14,000 crore.
The total estimated cost of these projects will be around Rs 1,38,650 crore, he said, adding that the State wants the Centre to provide substantial funds.
The Chief Minister said that under the national EGS scheme, the State had got only Rs 350 crore while Karnataka had taken Rs 4,000 crore and Andhra Pradesh Rs 6,000 crore but now the State would try and claim its full share from such schemes, he said.
Mr Chavan said he had also apprised the Prime Minister of the growing concern over a large number of companies pulling out of the State because of the Minimum Alternative Tax (MAT) and Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) on SEZs.

Source: Hindu Business Line