Activists unhappy with SC order on Coastal Road project

Activists unhappy with SC order on Coastal Road project

The top court, in its ruling on Tuesday, said that authorities can reclaim the land meant for construction of the eight-lane 29.2 km-long road project, but cannot develop it. Photo/PTI

Environment activists from Mumbai are unhappy with the Supreme Court's ruling that stayed the Bombay High Court order quashing the Coastal Road Zone clearances granted to the city civic body's Rs 14,000 crore coastal road project.

The top court, in its ruling on Tuesday, said that authorities can reclaim the land meant for construction of the eight-lane 29.2 km-long road project, but cannot develop it.

The ambitious project of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai proposes to connect the Marine Drive area in south Mumbai to suburban Borivali in north Mumbai.

Vanashakti NGO director Stalin D, who is one of the petitioners in the case, said the apex court order is "unjust, environmentally insensitive and devoid of scientific logic".

He said the high court's order was stayed without addressing issues raised by the petitioners, which is "gross miscarriage of justice".

"It is shocking and sad that the guideline (of a Rio convention), 'that precautionary principle will apply in matters of environment', was dumped by none less than the highest office of the judiciary," he said.

Another environment activist Zoru Bhathena said the Supreme Court has given a go ahead to the coastal road project without going into the merits of the case.

"Our opposition is to reclamation of the sea in the garb of a road. It is very sad that the apex court has said to go ahead with the reclamation, without going into the merits of the case," he said.

"Such damage to the environment can't be undone later on," said Bhathena, who is a petitioner in the case of tree feeling in Aarey Colony here to make way for a Metro car shed.

A Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant on Tuesday said, "We are of the considered opinion that the order of the Bombay High Court dated July 16 should be stayed till further orders."

It said the respondents, including the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, can reclaim and secure the land meant for the road project but cannot develop it till further orders of the court.

The work on the project was completely stopped after the high court's stay order in July 2019

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