The Bombay High court has set aside the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance for the much hyped Coastal Road project that aims to connect Marine Drive in South Mumbai to the northern suburb of Kandivali.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and justice NM Jamdar was hearing a batch of petitions against the Rs 14,000 crore project that has drawn sharp criticism from activists, residents who live along the coast and the fishing community. The PILs were filed in response to the CRZ clearance granted by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in May 2017. Petitioners objected to the construction of a proposed 10 kilometer long stretch from Marine Drive to Bandra, stating that it would cause damage to the coastline as well as marine life in the region.
A key aspect of the petition also dealt with fisher-folk who stand to lose their livelihoods if the project is allowed to go through. In fact the Worli Koliwada Nakhwa Matsya Vyavasay Sahkari Society Ltd. and the Worli Machimmar Sarvodaya Sahakari Society, were two of the key petitioners against the coastal road. Other key petitioners include environmental activist Debi Goenka, the Bombay Environmental Action Group, the Conservation Action Trust, architect Shweta Wagh, Vanashakti, Society for Improvement, Greenery and Nature, etc.
The court studied, with a keen eye for detail, all submissions and went through the details of meetings conducted and other actions taken by the government to understand the real repercussions of the project. After this the court held that, “there is lack of proper scientific study and this has been overlooked by MCZMA, EIA and MoEF warranting the approval granted by MCZMA on 4th January 2017, the approval granted by EAC on 17th March 2017 and the final approval granted by MoEF on 11th May, 2017 are liable to be quashed and set aside.” The court ruled, “We quash the decision taken by MCZMA on 4th January 2017 and the approval granted by MoEF on 11th May 2017 on said ground alone.”
The court had reserved judgment on July 1 and it was delivered on July 16. The entire judgment may be read here.