dna special: MMRDA cuts short Freeway to save mangroves, slums

Monday, 9 December 2013 - 7:16am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Has your city been short-changed by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) on the infrastructure front? The Eastern Freeway, which was supposed to stretch up to Ghatkopar, has been short-terminated – it will now end at Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road.

The reason for cutting short its length is to save mangroves and slums.

An official of the development authority agreed that the development authority’s initial plan was to take the Panjarpol-Ghatkopar Link Road (a part of the larger Eastern Freeway project) right up to the Eastern Express Highway such that it would touch Ghatkopar at Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar.

The alignment was to cross the Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road followed by constructing an elevated road over the creek and mangroves there, making it possible to take it from Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar to the Eastern Express Highway.

But the fact is that the Panjarpol-Ghatkopar Link Road that is currently under construction will cross Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road towards the creek and a clover loop will bring the vehicles back on Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road.

“There is thick vegetation of mangroves followed by a large number of slums. There was an issue of environment clearance due to the mangroves,” said the official.

However, the MMRDA was able to secure permission to construct the Eastern Freeway next to the mangroves at Bhakti Park, Wadala.

The official admitted that touching Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar slums would have resulted in shooting up the project costs on account of rehabilitation of locals. “The other issue is that the slum colony is politically volatile,” said this official.

Since the start of ground work in April 2005 for the Eastern Freeway project between Orange Gate and “Ghatkopar”, the cost has already shot up from Rs847.02 crore to Rs 1,265 crore that is by 49.34 per cent.

Cost of just the Panjarpol-Ghatkopar Link Road project has increased by 74.90 per cent from Rs 168.02 crore to Rs 293.87 crore.

No free ride for Freeway
The alignment was to cross the Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road followed by constructing an elevated road over the creek and mangroves there.

An official said that there is thick vegetation of mangroves and slums. This had led to an issue of environment clearance

Uphill ride for Peddar Rd According to the
original plan, length of the flyover was 4.2km. It was to start near Haji Ali and end at Chowpatty.

The 2012 estimates had pegged construction cost at Rs380 crore, which has shot up by at least 10 per cent due to increase in cost of raw material. In December 2011, the cost stood at Rs205crore.

49.34% That’s how much the cost of the freeway has shot up by – from Rs847.02cr to Rs1,265cr since the start of ground work in 2005

74.90% Panjarpol-Ghatkopar Link Road project has risen from its original estimate of Rs168.02cr to Rs293.87cr


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