MoEF defers decision  on Trans-Harbour Link

The project envisages connecting Sewri in Mumbai with Nhava-Sheva in Navi Mumbai through a 22-km long bridge

Mumbai : The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has deferred a decision on the ambitious Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) project stating that the “legal and procedural aspects of the case need to be examined by the MoEF”.

According to the minutes of the meeting of the EAC and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the implementing agency, held on December 22-23 last year, the MoEF has to study the procedural aspect of the case relating to application of various laws and notifications relating to environment clearance, coastal regulation zone (CRZ) clearance and the requirement of applicability of the EIA Notification, 2006.

“The EAC after detailed interaction with the project proponent (MMRDA) decided that the legal and procedural aspects of the case may be examined by the Ministry and appropriate directions be given to the Committee,” the minutes of the EAC meeting stated.

As per the minutes, the EAC had also directed the MMRDA to submit a revised environmental management plan. It directed the MMRDA that the plan should have greater emphasis on environment management and disaster management.

“In view of the above mentioned observations, the Committee deferred its decision,” the minutes added.

Meanwhile, senior MMRDA officials maintain that they will secure the clearances from the MoEF after revisiting and meeting certain conditions before the final nod is granted. “These are minutes of meeting held on December 22-23, we had another round of meeting on December 30-31. We have complied with conditions set by EAC and FAC, and we will get the final nod from the MoEF in next 15 days,” said a senior MMRDA official, requesting anonymity.

The official added, “So that we do not waste precious time, we have already started other procedures simultaneously. We have floated bids for the geotechnical survey and got some responses. After we get the notification from MoEF, we will then float bids for Expression of Interest (EoI).”

The project envisages connecting Sewri in Mumbai with Nhava-Sheva in Navi Mumbai through a 22-km long bridge. Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will be funding 80 per cent of the estimated project cost of Rs 11,000 crore.

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