The Bombay High Court on July 16, 2019, set aside the environmental clearance granted to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) by the Coastal Regulatory Zone Authority for the coastal road project and ordered a halt on the construction work of the road. The court also ordered the BMC to obtain fresh environmental clearance.
The 12,000crore project, proposed in early 2012 by former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, involves the creation of a 35.6km freeway that will connect Marine Lines in south Mumbai to Kandivali in the north. The project has been in the eye of the storm since. Environmental activists and local residents believe that the project not only exploits the regions marine biodiversity but also puts at risk the livelihoods and homes of the fisherfolk in the area.
A petition was filed by the Worli Koliwada Nakhwa and Worli Machimmar Sarvodaya in early February 2019 highlighting issues such as the lack of access to the sea due to reclamation and the loss of breeding grounds of marine animals, affecting about 11,000 people from the fishing community. The project is likely to eat into 75 hectares of open green spaces and up to 100 metres of the seashore for reclamation.
In light of this, the Bombay High Court, on February 28, 2019, directed the Commissioner of Fisheries to conduct a survey and to hear the grievances of the fishing communities. The court ordered the BMC and the police to not obstruct any fishing activity in the area. The Bench, led by Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice N.M. Jamdar, also ordered the BMC to conduct a meeting with the Commissioner of Fisheries and to submit a report within two weeks. On April 23, the Bombay High Court had ordered the BMC to halt work on the project until June 3, 2019.
On June 3, the BMC informed the Bombay High Court that it would provide compensation to the fishermen affected by the project, the details of which were not disclosed to the public.