The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay a Bombay High Court order quashing the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance for the Rs 14,000 crore coastal road work, but said it would hear the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)’s plea for interim relief on August 20.
BMC, engineering conglomerate Larsen and Toubro, and a Hindustan Construction Company- Housing Development Corporation joint venture had approached the top court on Friday with a plea that the raw materials for construction of the road had already reached the site and would go bad owing to the ongoing monsoon. A two-judge bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, however, refused to stay the high court order and said that it was not a matter “for summary dismissal”.
On July 17, the high court had quashed the CRZ clearance given to the project and said that “it was obvious that a serious lacuna in the decision making process,” had occurred.
“The lacuna is that neither MCZMA (Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority) nor EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) nor MoEF (Ministry of Environment and Forests) took note of the fact that the except for the environmental impact assessment study conducted by the consultants, all other reports themselves informed the recipient of the reports that they were not based on a complete and exhaustive analysis of the data and the material required to opine on the adverse environmental impact,” a division bench of the high court led by Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog had then said.
The high court had in April this year barred the BMC from carrying out any construction work on the project, following which the municipal corporation had challenged the order in the Supreme Court. The top court had then allowed BMC to only carry out the existing work, while maintaining that no new work for the project could be started. The top court had then also asked the high court to take up the matter for final disposal.
Several Public Interest Litigations (PIL) and writ petitions had challenged BMC’s reclamation and construction work on the project claiming that it would result in permanent damage to the Mumbai coastline and destroy marine life along the coast. The proposed coastal road aims to connect Marine Drive area in south Mumbai to Borivali in north Mumbai, covering a total distance of 29.2-km.