Mumbai’s coastal road project to be fast-tracked; lifting of mining moratorium on Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg under consideration
The politically sensitive Chhatrapati Shivaji statue project proposed in the Arabian Sea has been given in-principle approval, announced union environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan after meeting with Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday.
The minister was in Mumbai to discuss several key projects in the state with ecological ramifications such as the coastal road, moratorium on mining in Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg in the backdrop of the Kasturirangan committee report, car shed for Metro railway at Charkop and Ambedkar memorial.
“The in-principle approval has been given on the condition that no commercial ventures such as shops or hotels can be allowed in the vicinity of the statue,” said Natarajan. On his part, Chavan explained, “In a meeting of environment experts in Delhi on June 12, all ecological issues regarding the construction of a 312 feet (95 metre) tall statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji on a 16 hectare rock in the Arabian Sea were discussed and work on the statue could be started in CRZ 4 area after clearance is received from the environment department.”
The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) had given its in-principle approval to the project in February this year and recommended 20 studies to assess the ecological impact of the structure. The project is still in its infancy and a detailed project report (DPR) is yet to be made by the public works department, which is the nodal state agency for the project. Last month, head of the special committee formed by the state government to oversee the project’s implementation, rural development minister Jayant Patil, declared that the DPR will be formulated only after public consultations and a website will soon be launched for the purpose. It is yet to see the light of day.
On Thursday evening, Natarajan also said that in the meeting of the National Coastal Zone Management Authority (NCZMA) scheduled for June 24, the coastal road project will be “fast-tracked”. She also congratulated the state government for a comparatively more positive feedback on the Kasturirangan Committee’s report on Western Ghats.
Though she also pointed out that it was because a large number of recommendations made by the state have been incorporated in the report and lifting of moratorium on mining in the Konkan region will be actively considered.
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