Mumbai: Mahim Nature Park will remain forest land, will not be included under Dharavi Redevelopment Project

Mumbai: The Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) on Wednesday wrote a letter to the Chief of Dharavi Redevelopment Authority objecting to their proposal to include the Maharashtra Nature Park under the Dharavi Redevelopment Project. This comes on the heels of several citizens sending multiple letters to the MMRDA chief, opposing the move.

On Wednesday, MMRDA Metropolitan Commissioner, UPS Madan, sent a letter to DRA objecting to the proposal. “The MNP will remain a forest land and we have sent a letter stating not to move the park for redevelopment,” added Madan. The proposal for using the MNP forest area for redevelopment was sent by the Chief Executive Officer on Special Duty of Dharavi Redevelopment Project in March.  The MNP is spread over 16 hectares and was to be included in the project to increase the land which is to be used for redevelopment.

The proposal saw opposition from citizens and environmentalists to the use of the land for redevelopment activities. Members of Dharavi Bachao Andolan, a unit comprising residents of the slum, also objected to the moving of the park for redevelopment, stating that at least 70,000 trees in the area need to be protected.

Baburao Mane, President of Dharavi Bachao Andolan, said, “MNP is a forest land and a green patch which is spread over at least 500 acres. CM Devendra Fadnavis along with several other officials had initiated the process of planting at least 2 crore trees in Maharashtra and the process had begun from MNP. It is important that we save the trees and not let the green patch move for redevelopment.”

Mane added that the authorities must only rehabilitate slum dwellers and provide them with better infrastructure under the Dharavi Redevelopment Project. He added, “MNP is home to several fruit-bearing trees and needs to be protected. We would not allow trees to be cut for redevelopment and would move the court in case the proposal is not withdrawn.”

Meanwhile, to lend clarity on the issue, CM Devendra Fadnavis told the Assembly on Thursday that the Maharashtra government will not allow any construction work at the Mahim Nature Park. He said, “We have no such plans. No construction work will be allowed at the Mahim Nature Park. This is just a confusion. It got created after the Mahim Nature Park was shown as part of Dharavi Redevelopment Project (DRP). This was done considering the proximity of the park to Dharavi (a sprawling slum colony). But the government has no plans to allow any construction at the nature park.”

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