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Supreme Court of India

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has allowed the municipal corporation of Greater Mumbai to commence partial development work in the ongoing Mumbai Coastal Road Project while observing that sustainable development is an important ingredient in the protection of the environment.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hima Kohli modified its 2019 order and permitted the civic body to lay out gardens, open green spaces and parks, create a cycle track and jogging track, landscaping of seaside promenade and road median and build recreation spaces.

“Unless the work is permitted at this stage, a substantial part of the work of the road which is done in the meantime will have to be reopened for the underground car park. The facility is in the public interest,” the bench said.

“Undoubtedly, sustainable development is an important ingredient in the protection of the environment. At this stage, prima facie, the effort to decongest the arterial roads of a congested metropolitan city cannot be interdicted,” the bench said.

The apex court, however, said the conditions imposed in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance must be scrupulously observed including the rehabilitation of the fishing community.

It directed the civic body to furnish an undertaking that the municipal corporation will adhere strictly to all the conditions stipulated in the CRZ clearance of May 11, 2017, as amended on May 18, 2021.

“The land reclaimed should not be utilised for any residential or commercial development /purposes, presently or at any time in the future. No further land should be reclaimed for the purposes of the Coastal Road Project without prior permission of this Court.

“This court must be apprised in advance if there is any substantial alteration of the project parameters. The petitioner shall file the requisite plan within a period of three months from the date of the order,” the bench said.

The top court was hearing an application moved by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai for modification of the interim order dated December 17, 2019, to permit it to carry out certain work pertaining to the Coastal Road Project.

The apex court had restrained the municipal corporation from carrying on any other development work until further orders.

The Rs 12,000 crore-worth coastal road project is from Marine Drive to Worli.

According to the BMC’s website, the civic body has envisaged the Mumbai coastal road project-south (MCRP) along the western seafront of the city to decongest existing roads.

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