Mumbai: Green nod to section of Virar-Alibaug multi modal corridor project

The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) has cleared a part of the Virar-Alibaug multi modal corridor project in its meeting held on June 10, officials said.

Vijay Waghmare, the joint managing director of Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), said, “We have got clearance for the 18-km section from Chirner to Balavali, which is spread over Uran and Pen talukas. The second section of 80 kilometres will be screened by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and later by the MCZMA.’’

First envisioned in 2008, the project was initially being handled by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) before being handed over to the MSRDC.

The MCZMA has been conducting the hearing on this segment since 2017 as 681 mangroves are expected to be affected due to the project.

This section will act as a link between Sewree Nhava Transharbour Link, National Highway 4B, National Highway 17 (also called as Mumbai-Goa highway) and Mumbai-Pune expressway, officials said. The section will have an 835-metre-long tunnel, five major bridges, three minor bridges, one road overbridge, two overpasses, six flyovers, three vehicular underpasses and 550 metres of elevated road. It will pass through Dighode, Vindhane, Dhakti Jui, Karpoli, Kalambusare, Kelvane, Rave, Kopar, Govirale and Balavali, and will have an access-controlled highway, metro services and a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.

The minutes of the meeting showed that the mangrove protection cell visited village Rave, where 2.3 hectares of mangroves and 0.51 of mudflat will be affected, village Dighati, where 1.04 hectares of mangroves and 0.39 hectares of mudflat will be affected, and village Bhum, where 6.39 hectares of mangroves and 0.51 hectares of mudflats will be affected. In villages Dighane and Dighode, 6.79 hectares of mangrove and 0.93 hectares of mudflat will be reclaimed and at village Koper, 0.82 hectares of mangrove will be affected.

While clearing the project, the MCZMA asked the MSRDC to ensure that compensatory afforestation was carried out in the area. Activities of fishermen in the region must not be affected by the project, it added.

The Multi Modal Corridor will be a crucial step towards development and will create job opportunities in seven growth centers in MMR such as Virar, Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Dombivali, Panvel, Taloja and Uran, said officials. The corridor will also be useful for the development of Navi Mumbai International Airport, JNPT Port, MTHL and Dedicated Freight Corridor, they added. This corridor will carry all the traffic from JNPT towards Navi Mumbai and Thane outside the city and will help reduce traffic congestion within the city, officials said. The travel time between Virar and Alibaug will also be reduced by 50 per cent, said a top bureaucrat.

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