The proposed 13.7 km connector, 4.7 km of which will be through the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), promises to cut down peak- hour travel time between the city’s western and eastern suburbs from over two hours to just 15 minutes, but environmentalists have always been concerned about its effects on a rare green lung of the city.
An MoEF clearance was always considered the toughest among the four main permissions required for the Rs. 4,000 crore project, the others being wildlife, forest and eco- sensitive zone clearances. The BMC expects these to be granted on the grounds that GMLR’s section through the SGNP is to be a tunnel through a hill and as such will have no impact on the forest.
Construction of the tunnel alone is expected to cost Rs. 3,000 crore. The hill is made of basalt and breccia, impervious to water. The tunnel will pass between the Tulsi and Vihar lakes, but will be 2 km away from the nearest point of either.
These are surface water lakes and bore- well investigations show that there is no percolation from the lakes to the site of the proposed tunnel.