Toll-free Mumbai Coastal Road north-south arm inaugurated

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | March 11, 2024 IST

Toll-free Mumbai Coastal Road north-south arm inaugurated

Mumbai, March 11: Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde inaugurated the national commercial capital’s first ‘Mumbai Coastal Road’ project’s phase one’s north-south arm connecting Worli-Marine Lines, here on Monday.

Chief Minister Shinde, along with Deputy Chief Ministers Devendra Fadnavis, Ajit Pawar and other dignitaries present, cut the ribbon throwing open the south-bound lane of what he described as Mumbai’s ‘dream project’, and it will be opened for regular traffic movement from Tuesday.

The new thoroughfare has been officially named as ‘Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj Coastal Road (CSMCR), on the 335th death anniversary of the legendary Maratha ruler.

The son of the Hindavi Swaraj founder, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj (May 14, 1657-March 11, 1689) ruled the Maratha kingdom from January 1681 till his death in March 1689.

The swank new CSMCR, constructed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), includes a twin-tunnel running below the Malabar Hill, and the entire phase one project -- which will be toll-free as announced by the government -- is expected to be completed by May 2024.

Once operational, the MCR will slash the road commute time from around 60 minutes to barely 10 minutes, saving time plus fuel, and is expected to be extended from Worli to Dahisar (north-west Mumbai) and beyond, in the coming years, officials said.

Chief Minister Shinde and Deputy Chief Ministers Fadnavis flayed attempts by the Opposition Shiv Sena (UBT) leaders to claim credit for the prestigious project which picked up momentum only after the MahaYuti government took power in June 2022, and completed it after battling all hurdles.

Fadnavis recounted how the erstwhile UPA Government did not clear the MCR project saying it would involve huge reclamation from the Arabian Sea which led to the redrawing of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) boundaries.

He said that the state government gave an undertaking that they would not change the CRZ boundary, after which the Centre said that since over 200 acres of land would be ‘created’ the state government would exploit it commercially.

Again the state government gave an undertaking that it would be developed as a ‘green zone’, and during the Bharatiya Janata Party’s first tenure, the environment ministry decreed that it would be permitted for public transport and trams should be run over it.

“I was aghast… I pointed out that the trams are of a bygone era, and would reduce speed on the MCR. But when they remained adamant, I threatened to complain to Prime Minister Narendra Modi against the officials who were not working as per his efficiency,” revealed Deputy Chief Minister Fadnavis.

Around that time, the Centre’s then MoS Environment, the late Anil Madhav Dave who was in hospital, came for the meeting and put his foot down, and assured that the notification was issued promptly as per the state’s requirements.

Even after the works started, there were many legal challenges in the Bombay High Court and in the Supreme Court, where the state government won.

Deputy Chief Minister Fadnavis said that while he did all the backdoor work with the Centre, the Shiv Sena (UBT) President Uddhav Thackeray showed presentations of the MCR and won two BMC elections, and did not even invite him (Fadnavis) for the bhoomi pooja of the project though he was the CM.

“However, it was the MahaYuti government which completed this project. If Shinde had not become the CM, it would have been delayed for another 4-5 years. He removed all the blackmailers and the corrupt elements, bowed to the demands of the Koli fishers who were not even entertained by Thackeray and increased the span. Shinde constantly monitored and visited it, and the real momentum for the project came after he became the CM,” the Deputy Chief Minister.

He assured that those people who created problems for MCR are now sitting on social media and claiming credit, “though we did the real work”, and as in many other mega-projects, with Modi coming to power, it would have languished for decades.

The Deputy Chief Minister said that they never hankered for credits for the projects involving the public interest, and said that now the MCR will be extended right upto the Virar (Palghar), as per the PM’s vision to have direct connectivity from Palghar to Alibaug.

The MCR is being constructed by the BMC from its own resources and has implemented a series of environment-friendly initiatives like gardens, a green belt, parking lots, a new sea-wall and promenade, and other public amenities, besides a smooth toll-free ride, as decided by the state government and civic administration.

(IANS)

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