Mumbai: The Coastal Regulation Zone rules do not permit coastal roads, but Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan is hopeful that Centre will give an in-principle nod for the proposal of coastal ring road in Mumbai.

Chavan, who got his top bureaucrats to make a presentation to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on infrastructure development in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and the state on Saturday, said constructing coastal road by reclaiming land from the sea was not a new concept.

"It has been done earlier with the Marine Drive promenade (south Mumbai) forty years ago and no ecological problems have been faced," the Chief Minister said here on Saturday night.

"However, as per the latest CRZ rules, coastal roads are not allowed. Only road on stilt can be constructed. We won't go for stilt road because there are security issues."

The coastal road proposal is being discussed for the last several years in the state.

"We are keen that the Planning Commission meeting on October 15 and 16 discusses our proposal and grant in-principle nod. After that we can approach the environment ministry for other clearances," Chavan said.

Mumbai Municipal Commissioner Subodh Kumar is heading a Committee to study the feasibility of coastal ring road or highway in Mumbai. "The report is expected to be ready in about two months," Chief Minister said.

"What is important is a policy decision in respect of coastal roads. We will need at least Rs 6,000-7000 crore for it. The coastal ring road, with west to east connectivity, will have tunnels, link roads, coastal roads and stilt road where mangroves grow. It is estimated that the land-fill will be around 42 hectares," he said. Chavan said South Korea had reclaimed 1,550 sq km of area, Singapore 135 sq km, Hong kong 86 sq km, Netherlands 7,000 sq km, New York 92 acres and Tokyo 205 acres.

No city in the country is eligible to be an international financial centre other than Mumbai, he said. "The city's problem is unique...it has no space to expand. Mumbai is the engine of growth for the Indian economy."  The Prime Minister appreciated the presentation, he said.     

Apart from the ring road, Chavan said Alibag- Virar expressway will be the spine of the MMR region. He admitted that land acquisition was a serious problem. There was growing opposition to the overland metro in Mumbai, he said, adding that the third phase onwards, the government will have to consider underground line.

Chavan said the Alibag-Virar multi-nodal corridor will cost Rs 10,000 crore, Mumbai trans harbour link Rs 10,000 crore, underground metro Rs 18,000 crore, coastal freeway Rs 6,000 crore, Rajiv Aawas Yojana Rs 40,000 crore, water supply schemes Rs 24,000 crore, Navi Mumbai airport Rs 14,000 crore.

The total estimated cost of these projects would be around Rs 1,38,650 crore. "We want the centre provide substantial funds."

Chavan said that under the national EGS scheme, the state had got only Rs 350 crore while Karnataka had taken Rs 4,000 crore and Andhra Pradesh Rs 6,000 crore.

But now the state would try and claim its full share from such schemes, he added.

Chavan said in his meeting with the PM, he also expressed concern about the large number of withdrawals of SEZs from the state. "Several companies are pulling out because of the minimum alternative tax (mat) and dividend distribution tax (ddt) on SEZs," he added.

(Agencies)