City environmentalists unhappy with Thane officials over Parsik hill slope digging

Local residents and environmentalists have now demanded action against the culprits responsible for playing with the safety of the hill.

Abhitash SinghUpdated: Thursday, October 13, 2022, 12:08 AM IST
article-image
City environmentalists unhappy with Thane officials over Parsik hill slope digging | PIC BY - SAMEER MARKANDE

Green groups have alleged that Thane district officials failed to check the threat to the environment as the residential part of the Parsik Hill slope was cut down without any environmental clearances.

NGO NatConnect Foundation said the information obtained by it under the RTI Act shows that the mandatory environmental clearance was not obtained by those digging the Parsik Hill slope.

NatConnect Foundation director B N Kumar said, "We have sought the information following concerns over the indiscriminate hill cutting in the middle by destroying the full-grown trees and burning them since February."

"A landslide during the recent rains has damaged the water supply control room at the foot of the hill though there were no casualties. Also, the residential buildings are in constant danger," said Rajendra Lokhande, general secretary of, Parsik Hill Residents Association.

Parsik Greens Forum convenor Vishnu Joshi said, "CIDCO has allotted about 200 plots on Parsik Hill at Belapur in Navi Mumbai in Thane district and about 100 buildings have already come up. Apart from these buildings, there is a massive Elevated Static Reservoir (water tank) on the hill to ensure water supply. The cutting could endanger all these as the hill has already become loose."

In its response to NatConnect, the Environment department said, “The information sought by you is not available with SEIAA (State Environment Impact Assessment Authority)”. "This is the normal style of responses given by any government department if no permissions are granted. NatConnect has filed several applications under the RTI Act. As per the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order, it is mandatory to get environmental clearance before digging the hills," Kumar pointed out.

“The SEIAA is the competent authority that gives these clearances which is why we see scores of applications before it for clearances,” Kumar said.

Local residents and environmentalists have now demanded action against the culprits responsible for playing with the safety of the hill. NatConnect initially complained to the Chief Minister and Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) way back in February about the hill cutting on the eastern side of the hill slope. The CMO has asked the Environment and Forest Ministries and Thane Collector to look into it.

Kumar regretted saying, “There have been 26 exchanges of emails back and forth. Forest Secretary B Venugopal Reddy has asked the Chief Conservator of Forest at Thane yet there has been no action.”

The NMMC garden department said it was only doing some plantations with CSR funds from PSU Lubrizol Limited. “We have nothing to do with the hill cutting,” NMMC Deputy Municipal Commissioner Jaydeep Pawar informed NatConnect in reply to the activist’s RTI application.

"As per reports, a real estate developer claimed that he was only beautifying the hill. The hill slope is naturally lush with green and it does not require any artificial beautification," said Residents Association president Jayant Thakur.

"A proper geological study and environment assessment ought to have been done before digging the hill," said Nandakumar Pawar, head of Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishtan.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

BJP MP Anil Bonde promises Rs 25 lakh to each village if BJP comes to power

BJP MP Anil Bonde promises Rs 25 lakh to each village if BJP comes to power

Nigerian man held in connection with cocaine seizure at Mumbai airport

Nigerian man held in connection with cocaine seizure at Mumbai airport

Maharashtra: MVA partners to meet on Monday to fine-tune strategy for winter session

Maharashtra: MVA partners to meet on Monday to fine-tune strategy for winter session

Navi Mumbai: NCPCR demolishes illegal children's home after complaints of sexual abuse

Navi Mumbai: NCPCR demolishes illegal children's home after complaints of sexual abuse

Thane: Three held for breaking into ATM in Ulhasnagar

Thane: Three held for breaking into ATM in Ulhasnagar