Devendra Fadnavis seeks Centre’s intervention for CRZ clearance to Metro-III stations

Keen to ensure the Metro-III project was commissioned by its 2020 deadline, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had sought the intervention of then Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar for CRZ clearance to five metro stations.

Documents obtained under the Right to Information Act by citizens show that in March last year, Fadnavis in a letter to Javadekar asked him “to look into the matter” for five plots earmarked for the Metro-III stations in Coastal Regulation Zone-III area.

CRZ-III areas are relatively undisturbed and include coastal zones in rural areas (developed and undeveloped) and also areas within municipal limits or in other legally designated urban areas, which are not substantially built up. In case of Mumbai, the CRZ Notification 2011 states in order to protect and preserve the ‘green lung’ of the Greater Mumbai area, all open spaces, parks, gardens, playgrounds indicated in development plans within CRZ-II shall be categorized as CRZ-III, that is, ‘no development zone’.

Fadnavis wrote to Javadekar after the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) in March last year rejected the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd’s proposal to allow metro stations at World Trade Centre, Cuffe Parade, near Vidhan Bhavan and the Bandra-Kurla Complex.

MCZMA, after rejecting the proposal, forwarded it to the MoEF as a special case for consideration from the CRZ point of view as the state government had declared it as a ‘public project of urgency and important urban transportation’.

Fadnavis’ letter to Javadekar also mentions the project is being monitored by the Prime Minister himself under the Pragati programme. “…you are kindly requested to look into the matter so as to maintain the timelines of the implementation of the project,” reads the letter.

Despite the CM’s intervention, the MoEF rejected the proposal and in its March 22 letter to MMRCL said it was not in consonance with the CRZ Notification. Subsequently, in different meetings the MCZMA granted CRZ clearance to each of the proposed stations.

Citizens have now moved the Bombay High Court against work being carried out by MMRCL for stations without obtaining proper CRZ clearance. The next date for hearing is March 16.

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