The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which is building the coastal road in south Mumbai, has deposited Rs 150.33 crore funds required for the conservation of coastal and marine biodiversity as per specific conditions under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance.
BMC, however, has revised the total construction cost and reduced the applicable funds for marine biodiversity conservation by 31%.
According to CRZ clearance granted in May 2017, the civic body had to pay 2% (Rs 254 crore) of the total cost of the project (Rs 12,721 crore) to the Mangrove Foundation — an autonomous society that assists the state government in marine conservation — on or before commencement of work in December 2018.
“The total project cost computed by the mangrove cell was not correct. The actual project construction cost is Rs 8,429 crore along with some additional costs taking the complete tally to around Rs 8,750 crore. So, as per CRZ condition, all approvals have been received to pay 2% (Rs 175 crore) to the Mangrove Foundation. Of this, Rs 25 crore was paid last year, and now the final fund transfer of Rs 150 crore is underway,” said a senior BMC official in-charge of the project, requesting anonymity.
Virendra Tiwari, additional principal chief conservator of forest (mangrove cell) and executive director, Mangrove Foundation, said, “We have received an official intimation from BMC that they have processed Rs 150.33 crore. The funds will be kept in fixed deposits as per the Foundation’s mandate. The interest earned will be utilised for improving coastal and marine biodiversity of Mumbai and Thane regions, research projects, and to build awareness among citizens.”
The 9.9-km-long road aims to connect Princess Street flyover in south Mumbai to the Worli-end of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link and cut short travel time between south Mumbai and western suburbs by 70%.
The submission of funds comes after a delay of two years. HT had, on November 3, reported that Tiwari had requested the environment department to ensure that conditions under CRZ clearance are complied with before considering fresh amendments proposed by BMC.