Geo- tech analysis for tunnel under SGNP on anvil
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation ( BMC) is just two steps away from securing the permission to start geotechnical analysis for checking the feasibility of constructing a tunnel under the Sanjay Gandhi National Park ( SGNP). The 7km tunnel is a part of the proposed Goregaon- Mulund Link Road ( GMLR) project.
The GMLR project is divided in three phases: Phase I involves developing ROB at Nahur station; Phase II involves expansion and widening of the AN Vaidya Marg and Film City Road and Phase III involves constructing a tunnel underneath SGNP.
Civic officials who were in Nagpur on Saturday confirmed that the principal chief conservator of forests ( PCCF) has recommended to the Maharashtra government, civic body’s application seeking to conduct geo- technical analysis for Phase III of the project.
“The PCCF has informed us that our application has been sent to the state wildlife board. It will then be sent to the National Wildlife board for final approval,” additional municipal commissioner ( Projects) Dr Sanjay Mukherjee said. He added that after the report by IIT- Bombay advocating the procedure lined by BMC, they have high hopes of BMC securing approval from both state and national wildlife board.
According to the IIT report, available with dna, the aspect of remote sensing, which was suggested by SGNP officials, “will not be of any use for tunnel design and impact assessment”. With BMC proposing to construct the tunnel at a depth of 30- 40 meters below the ground level, IIT has marked geo- technical analysis as the only option to be implemented. A senior PCCF officer said the department will side with the civic body and place the application in front of the state wildlife board within a week.
“The state wildlife board, headed by the chief minister, is expected to organise a meeting within a week. The CM will clear the application as it is one of the prime mobility infra project in the city, which will reduce traffic time to connect west and east ends of Mumbai,” the official said.
In June this year, the BMC had received a major setback regarding the GMLR project. The civic body was denied permission by the state forest department to dig pits to conduct geo- technical testing of the soil strata at SGNP. The corporation had outlined a plan to drill seven test bores in the 104sqkm area of the park. Citing disturbance to bio- diversity, the SGNP forest officials, however, had turned down the request.
Meanwhile, developments were also reported in Phase I and II of the project. According to Mukherjee, after floating tenders for Phase I ( Nahur ROB), the BMC has received offers from various companies. The work is expected to start after September. Tenders are ready for Phase II and will be floated soon.