Bandra-Versova Sea Link gets nod from Environment ministry
While the Worli-Haji Ali Sea Link (WHSL) project is yet to see the light of the day, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) recently received the final environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) for the Bandra-Versova Sea Link (BVSL)
The distance between Bandra and Versova is approximately 10.1 km and the project would cost anywhere between Rs 1,900 crore to Rs 3,000 crore, depending on the option the authorities chose. Confirming the development, an MSRDC official said, “We had sent the proposal to the MoEF by 2012, seeking final environmental clearance. Now that we have received it, we can go ahead and invite tenders, following which work is expected to commence by the year end.”
Though the project received environmental clearance, it has been facing opposition from various residents and environmentalists in the Western suburbs. They feel that constructing the sea link would disturb vital and sensitive coastal ecology, as well as the mangrove ecosystem. Besides, the residents also claimed that the scenic vistas and recreational areas would be disturbed.
While the future of BVSL looks bright, chances are that the WHSL may get scrapped due to lack of funds from the government’s side. Sources said that after the board meeting in August 2012, MSRDC officials had decided to send the report on infrastructure prepared by arbitrator Justice (retd) B P Singh and Attorney General G E Vahanvati to the cabinet committee to take the final call.
The the WHSL project has been in limbo for the past two years, due to differences between the MSRDC and the contractors. Both the parties have been accusing each other of reneging on the terms of contract. As a solution, Vahanvati suggested that the parties amicably terminate the agreement without any monetary liability to either side.