CM inaugurates southbound arm of coastal road, no toll for commuters | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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CM inaugurates southbound arm of coastal road, no toll for commuters

Mar 12, 2024 07:58 AM IST

Shinde, in his speech, revealed the government’s plans to develop the 300-acre Mumbai Central Park which will integrate green areas along the coastal road with the Mahalaxmi racecourse. He stressed the park’s significance for all Mumbaikars

MUMBAI: After two missed dates of February 19 and March 9, the much-awaited coastal road was finally inaugurated on Monday, with chief minister Eknath Shinde presiding over the event. Officially known as the Dharmveer Swarajya Rakshak Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj Coastal Road, the project marks a significant milestone for Mumbai.

Mumbai, India. Mar 11,2024: Worli to Marine Drive 9.5 kilometres of the 10.58-kilometre Dharmveer Swarajya Rakshak Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj Road (Coastal Road) inaugurated by Maharashtra Chief minister Eknath Shinde along with deputy chief ministers Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar in Mumbai. coastal road will be opened to traffic for the public on Tuesday morning. Mar 11,2024.(Photo by Raju Shinde/HT Photo)
Mumbai, India. Mar 11,2024: Worli to Marine Drive 9.5 kilometres of the 10.58-kilometre Dharmveer Swarajya Rakshak Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj Road (Coastal Road) inaugurated by Maharashtra Chief minister Eknath Shinde along with deputy chief ministers Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar in Mumbai. coastal road will be opened to traffic for the public on Tuesday morning. Mar 11,2024.(Photo by Raju Shinde/HT Photo)

The inauguration was a partial one, with only the south-bound arm from Bindumadhav Chowk in Worli to Marine Drive being thrown open to cars and buses. No toll will be imposed on commuters, whose travel time is set to come down from the current 35 to 40 minutes to 10 minutes flat. As of now, vehicles will be allowed only between 8 am and 8 pm, and the road will be entirely shut on weekends to facilitate further work.

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Shinde, in his speech, revealed the government’s plans to develop the 300-acre Mumbai Central Park which will integrate green areas along the coastal road with the Mahalaxmi racecourse. He stressed the park’s significance for all Mumbaikars, criticised past governments and pointed out that it was his government that had widened the span of the road to 120 metres to cater to the needs of the Kolis, the city’s original inhabitants.

Deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis too continued the political blame game. Taking a potshot at former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, he said that the coastal road concept had been around for decades but had advanced only after the BJP gained power at both the Centre and the state, swiftly enacting changes to the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) regulations and facilitating environmental approvals. He added that he had seen opposition claims on social media, suggesting that the current government was taking credit for the previous one’s work. “Let me clarify that we take credit for our own work,” he said.

Regarding concerns about the potential misuse of the reclaimed land, Fadnavis said, “We have pledged to utilise all created land as open spaces for gardens, barring all construction and ensuring a ‘no development zone’ along the coastal road, for which an undertaking was submitted.” The Supreme Court had held the government to this while granting permission for the coastal road.

Ajit Pawar, on his part, declared that Mumbai was currently among the most polluted cities in India, but his government was committed to “liberating” it from pollution. “The coastal road represents a significant milestone, not only reducing the city’s carbon footprint but also adding 175 acres of greenery,” he said. “Open spaces along the coastal road will link to the Mahalaxmi Racecourse via an underground tunnel, creating a combined open area of up to 300 acres.”

Civic chief Iqbal Singh Chahal said the coastal road project has been executed by BMC in record time. “Even though the work order was issued in Oct 2018, the actual construction commenced only in June 2020 after vacation of the Bombay high court’s stay order,” he said. “The road will save nearly $100 million annually in carbon emissions through fuel-saving.”

Meanwhile, reacting to Fadnavis taking potshots at his father, Aaditya Thackeray posted on X: “The fact that the half-DCM of the regime in Maharashtra had to base half his speech on us during the delayed inauguration of the coastal road means only one thing: our passionate connection to the Mumbai coastal road.”

Aaditya added that the “half-DCM” could claim all the credit, as was his habit. “But Mumbai knows,” he concluded.

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