Bandra-Versova Sea Link Row: MSRDC claims to be ‘empowered’ to construct casting yard at Juhu beach

Mumbai: The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) on Monday claimed it was allowed to construct a casting yard for the Bandra-Versova Sea Link project, on the Juhu beach. The MSRDC, in a way, justified its decision to carry out reclamation of the beach area, where thousands of people throng on a daily basis.

A bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Nitin Jamdar, however, sought to know if the state-run corporation, if the casting yard could be constructed at some other place. The bench was dealing with a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by activist Zoru Bhathena, who claimed, the MSRDC was constructing the casting yard on the Juhu Koliwada beach, and in the process, was illegally reclaiming a portion of the beach. He further claimed the MSRDC is constructing the casting yard without obtaining the requisite green clearances.

According to Bhathena, the MSRDC was dumping mud on the beach, thus, not only reclaiming the area, but, also restricting the sea water supply to the mangroves in the area. “Around 7.9 hectare of the beach area was being affected due to the casting yard work,” Bhathena claimed.

A casting yard is a confined place where concrete structures like segments, parapets, girders, beams and boundary wall panels are manufactured. During the course of the hearing on Monday, the counsel appearing for the MSRDC told the bench that the authority was permitted to carry out construction work, even in ‘reserved zones’ like the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) areas. The submissions were interrupted by the bench, saying, “Can the casting yard be shifted to some other place? Is Juhu beach the only suitable site?” The judges accordingly posted the matter for further hearing on Tuesday.

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