Green activists, BMC lock horns over reclamation

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Monday officially stated that it will reclaim 111 hectare of the sea. The Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) on 2017 issued clearance to the BMC stating total reclamation of the sea would be 90 hectares.

Meanwhile in October, the BMC had submitted a proposition to the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) seeking approval for an additional 111 hectare. BMC officials involved with the coastal road project maintained, of the total 21 hectare of the additional reclamation, around 6.5 hectare would be reclaimed for constructing the coastal road, while 14.5 hectare would be reclaimed for constructing a sea wall.

"Till now, we have reclaimed around 63 hectare of the sea the proposition of reclaiming the 21 hectare was already made to the Supreme Court, however it was not properly detailed in the documents submitted back then," an official told FPJ.

Following the BMC's appeal in last October, the MCZMA had issued a post-facto clearance to the civic body also maintaining to set up its own environment management cell to assess the environment impact.

"The said environmental cell should also monitor the change in shoreline and erosion of the coastline by engaging competent authorities," read the minutes of the MCZMA and BMC meeting.

Environmentalist Debi Goenka stated that the MCZMA didn't hear the plea of the environmentalists properly and it was shocking that the MCZMA was granting post facto clearance to the civic body for additional reclamation.

"The MCZMA has not dealt with any of the written submissions submitted by the petitioners. We were only allowed a few minutes to prove our point hence we stated that we would not repeat orally what we had submitted in writing," Goenka told FPJ.

The MCZMA has also ordered the BMC to construct the promenade at Priyadarshini Park in such a way that water should flow beneath the promenade.

"We had made similar appeal to the MCZMA stating there is no need to reclaim any land between coastal road and the existing roads but the MCZMA didn't approve of it while they ordered the BMC to do the same with Priyadarshini Park site" Goenka added.

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