Mumbai: In a fresh development in the Aksa beach seawall case, the state’s Environment Director has asked the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) and the Suburban District Collector to inquire into the green groups’ allegations of Coastal Regulation Zones (CRZ) violations in the construction.
This follows NatConnect Foundation’s complaint to the Chief Minister about the violation of environmental rules in the construction of the “monstrous seawall” at Aksa Beach, Madh by the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB).
The CMO has referred the issue to the Environment Department (Principal Secretary, Environment & Climate Change) for further action.
NatConnect director B N Kumar said he filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Environment Department and followed up with his first appeal to get information on the action taken on the CM’s email.
“During the hearing on Wednesday, environment director Abhay Pimparkar assured us that he is writing a demi-official letter to the MCGM and the suburban district collector to check the allegations of CRZ violations and respond within a week,” said Kumar.
Pimparkar Among the Committee Which Gave Nod To MMB’s Plan
Pimparkar is also the member secretary of the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) which has okayed the MMB’s plan for the beautification of Aksa Beach with riders that there should be no construction on the CRZ-I area.
Kumar and fellow activist Zoru Bathena have alleged that the MMB has violated the clearance by constructing the seawall in the middle of the beach. The activists have moved the National Green Tribunal (NGT) against the alleged violations and has been reported by The Free Press Journal.
The MCZMA has said that solid constructions on the beach could impact the flow of intertidal water and may even flood areas downstream, the environmentalists said.At the last hearing at the NGT bench, the environment department’s counsel sought four weeks to file the response to the activists’ application.
The seawall also violates an NGT ruling of April 11, 2022, against sea walls at beaches, pending preparation and updation of shore management plans by the states and union territories, the activists argued.