Mumbai: In what could be a great news for city and environment lovers, the Mahim or Maharashtra Nature Park (MNP) society meeting that was conducted today after 16 months might have concluded that the green lung is there to stay. Sumit Mulick, who is ex officio president of Mahim (Maharashtra) Nature Park (MNP) Society, had convened a meeting of the board of governors of MNP on Thursday.
Although the agenda of the meeting did not mention the March 5 notification published by Slum Rehabilitation Authority – Dharavi Redevelopment Project (DRP) to include MNP in DRP, Dr Manisha Kayande, MNP board member and associate professor of Zoology, MD College, Parel, said she intervened and questioned about the plan nonetheless. “Even though the agenda was not mentioned, I asked the MMRDA chief about the same. They said they have objected to any development in the park since it is a protected area so it cannot be included in the DRP,” confirmed Kayande.
The subject of the agenda was confirmation of the minutes of the 2016 meeting, consideration of the annual works and budget estimate of MNP, auditor’s appointment, among others. The agenda was mainly to give administrative approvals to works and issues of 2017-18.
“Although some members (present in the meeting) were speaking about development in the park, why would you need development in a park, which is an important green lung of the city? Instead of developing inside the park, they need to build walls around the periphery of the park to stop drunkards from creating a mess in the park,” Kayande added.
Another member who attended the meeting, said, the development body could not even give a break up of how much is the protected area out of the 41 acre of the park. “They might have wanted to exploit the land for commercial purposes and so they were pushing in to acquire more Floor Space Index (FSI) by including the park in DRP. But the move now seems next to impossible,” said the member, wishing anonymity.
The meeting was conducted in Mantralaya in presence of 11 members which included MNP Member Dr Manisha Kayande, Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority commissioner UPS Madan, principal secretary environment Satish Gavai, BMC chief Ajoy Mehta, secretary of Forest Department Vikas Kharge, World Wildlife Federation (WWF) chairman and trustee, Arvind Wable, among others. Repeated attempts to contact MMRDA went in vain as none responded to calls or messages.