Mumbai :  The denial of MMRDA to realign the MTHL (Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link) has left the environmentalists looming in the fear that it would affect the mudflats in Sewri.

The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) informed MMRDA that mitigation measure given by BNHS (Bombay Natural History Society) to shift the link around 150 metres to South won’t be feasible due to the curve in the link.

Engineer in Chief, MMRDA, Prakash Mamdapure said, “JICA has refused to realign the link due to technical reasons. Also, it will be impossible to now realign it by MMRDA; however we will be following the remaining mitigation measures given to us by BNHS. The construction of the link would start within a year”.

MMRDA would now be following the original construction of the 22 km long 6-lane bridge with interchanges at Sewri in Mumbai and in NH-4B at Chirle on Navi Mumbai side without any realignment.

BNHS had given several mitigation measures to MMRDA in regards with MTHL project, one of which was to shift the link around 150 metres away towards the south to protect the mudflats.

Deepak Apte, Director of BNHS said, “We had advised MMRDA to realign the structure by shifting the link to 150 metres away. In addition we also asked them to declare few areas in Navi Mumbai as a sactuary to protect the mudflats.”

“As a mitigation measure, we also advised them to fix few treatment affluent plants at Thane creek so as to avoid pollution due to heavy metal discharge during the construction of the link. Lastly, we have advised them not to construct the link by using strings similar to Bandra-Worli sea link”, added Apte.

Flamingoes come to Sewri mudflats in Mumbai around mid November to feed on planktons. “The construction of the link could pose several environmental impacts on the mudflats.

The mudflats are exposed in low-tide at Sewri in which the flamingos feed on”, said Deputy Director, (Natural History), Issac Kehimkar, BNHS.

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