Another chunk of Navi Mumbai mangroves to face the chop

Updated: Dec 27, 2018, 13:38 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav and Anamika Gharat

They will have to be shifted to facilitate the construction of NMIA, and make the airport operationally safe

The linear portion of 9.0361 hectare of forested land has been proposed for diversion
The linear portion of 9.0361 hectare of forested land has been proposed for diversion

The already reducing cover of mangroves in Navi Mumbai is set to be chopped further, with a proposal being submitted by CIDCO to the ministry of environment, forest and climate change, seeking to take mangrove area equivalent to approximately 16 football fields for setting up extra high voltage transmission (EHVT) Lines. Presently, the EHVT Lines are passing through the proposed area for the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) as well as the approach funnel of the airport. They will have to be shifted to facilitate the construction of NMIA, and make the airport operationally safe.

CIDCO has already submitted the proposal regarding the shifting of EHVT lines to the central government. The linear portion of 9.0361 hectare of forest land has been proposed for the diversion. Some 24.01 hectare of non-forest land is required for the R823.45 crore project. The portion of the land required for the project also includes areas around 10 villages in Raigad district and the forest patch that will be diverted will be from Sonkhar, Ulwa, Targhar, Vaghivli, Panvel, Kamothe, Kharghar.

CIDCO says
Speaking to mid-day, CIDCO PRO Priya Ratambe, said, "We are going to do compensatory mangroves plantation against the forest area that will be diverted for the project. Since I don't have the complete technical details, I cannot explain when the compensatory transplantation work will start and when it will be completed. But, we will have to cut mangroves as it is required for the airport project and is unavoidable."

Against transplantation
Reacting to the proposal, activist Nandakumar Pawar, who has been constantly raising his voice against destruction of mangroves in Navi Mumbai said, "In the name of development, the authorities are ignoring the importance of the ecologically rich mangroves that are home to a rich biodiversity. It is really sad on the part of authorities to say that they will be doing transplantation and compensatory transplantation at other place because everyone is well aware of the fact that the survival rate of transplanted trees is extremely less."

He added, "I'm a fisherman and since I was a child, I've made several attempts to grow mangroves but there has been no success. The nine hectares of mangroves that will have to be diverted is an important area and this patch will never get its environment back. We're against this decision."

Massive destruction
The teams appointed by the Maharashtra State Mangrove Monitoring Committee have recorded massive destruction of wetlands and mangroves in at least four places in Uran, and the killing of 4,500 aquatic plants along NH 348. Swiftly acting on a series of complaints filed by environment groups – The Nature Connect and Shree Ekvira Aai Pratishtan (SEAP) – the mangrove committee has directed the revenue and forest departments to investigate and report the destruction.

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