HC allows MMRDA to cut mangroves to build flyovers in Bandra, compensate by planting 10x mangroves

HC allows MMRDA to cut mangroves to build flyovers in Bandra, compensate by planting 10x mangroves
The project entails the construction of two flyovers to decongest Kalanagar – one connecting BKC to BWSL and other connecting T-junction in Dharavi to BWSL (Picture Courtesy: Rajendra B. Aklekar)

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday permitted the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to destroy 14 mangroves to construct a flyover interchange at Kalanagar in Bandra (East).

The proposed flyovers, expected to be ready by June 2019, will connect Eastern and Western Express Highways and the Bandra Worli Sea Link (BWSL).

The project entails the construction of a 900-metre long flyover connecting BKC to BWSL and another 450-metre flyover connecting T-junction at Dharavi to BWSL.

A division bench of Justices B R Gavai and S K Shinde allowed a petition filed by the MMRDA, seeking permission to destroy 0.0484 hectares of mangroves after the authority gave an undertaking that it would plant ten times as many mangrove trees at a location identified by the mangroves cell of the forest department.

MMRDA’s lawyer Saket Mone told the court that it has requisite permissions from all concerned authorities, including the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA).

The court, while allowing the petition, observed that it has to consider larger public interest and the fact that the proposed flyover will ease traffic congestion at Kalanagar junction.

“The proposed project will provide direct access between Sion and the Bandra Worli sea link. This means a direct access from the Eastern Highway to the Western Highway,” the court said.

The junction, which is located at one end of the burgeoning BKC, reportedly sees around 12,000 vehicles every hour.

MMRDA had to approach Bombay HC following a September 2018 order, which prohibits destruction of mangroves unless the court finds it in the interest of the general public.

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