Mumbai: Sanjay Gandhi National Park Faces Threat As BMC Plans To Divert Forest Land For Bridge Reconstruction

Mumbai: Sanjay Gandhi National Park Faces Threat As BMC Plans To Divert Forest Land For Bridge Reconstruction

Sanjay Gandhi National Park faces challenges from ongoing projects, including highways, link roads, and tunnels, jeopardising its unique biosphere; BMC plans to divert part of forest land for reconstructing the Shri Krishna Nagar bridge

RUCHA KANOLKARUpdated: Wednesday, January 17, 2024, 11:37 PM IST
article-image
Sanjay Gandhi National Park Faces Threat as Mumbai BMC Plans To Divert Forest Land For Bridge Reconstruction | Wikipedia

In Mumbai’s bustling urban landscape, the unique biosphere of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) is facing an unprecedented threat from rampant development projects such as highways, link roads, and tunnels. Environmentalists argue that despite its status as a critical ecosystem, the authorities have failed to safeguard the precious forest.

BMC proposes to divert portion of SGNP’s forest land for reconstruction of Shri Krishna Nagar bridge

The BMC has proposed to divert a portion of the SGNP’s forest land for the reconstruction of the Shri Krishna Nagar bridge. This 22-meter-wide bridge, connecting Shri Krishna Nagar, Abhinav Nagar, and Shantivan in Borivali East to the Western Express Highway, suffered a partial collapse in 2021. The civic body wants to redirect a 7,836 sq ft plot on the periphery of SGNP for the bridge widening, a move contested by environmentalists.

Under the provisions of the Forest Conservation Act 1980, the BMC claims to have received in-principle approval from the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change on August 8, 2023, for this project.

Growing apprehension over persistent depletion of forest land

Environmental activist D Stalin, representing the NGO Vanashakti, voices growing apprehension regarding the persistent depletion of forest land due to ongoing development projects. Stalin said that the authorities were not paying enough attention to the importance of Rashtriya Udyan. “New projects are cropping up every two months, gradually eroding our jungles. The forest minister’s lack of commitment to preserving these vital ecosystems is evident, and the department must acknowledge that wildlife conservation is no longer a priority,” he asserted.

Executive Trustee of the Conservation Action Trust, Debi Goenka said, “Although land is being allocated in small portions, looking at the bigger picture, the national park is losing substantial land. This leads to habitat fragmentation, significantly impacting wildlife. Unfortunately, politicians seem unaware of the park’s importance.”

“Despite a recent major tunnel disaster, there’s been no effort to learn from it. Building new bridges, metros, or additional roads doesn’t effectively address the traffic issue. The government should prioritise improving public transport, increasing the number of BEST buses, and enhancing their frequency,” Goenka added.

The numerous development projects

Among the numerous development projects, the Goregaon-Mulund Tunnel Link Road stands out, incorporating a 4.7km tunnel under the national park. Additionally, the Borivali-Thane Twin Tunnel Project plans to connect the Western Express Highway near Borivali to Ghodbunder Road near Tikujiniwadi, running a 10km stretch underneath SGNP, including beneath Tulsi Lake.

With increasing development projects at Sanjay Gandhi National Park, the onus falls on forest authorities and the minister to prioritise forest conservation. The fate of wildlife hinges on their responsibility to safeguard this vital green space.

RECENT STORIES

Mumbaikars Your Vote Counts! Check Your Name In Voters' List Or Apply For New ID Before April 22;...

Mumbaikars Your Vote Counts! Check Your Name In Voters' List Or Apply For New ID Before April 22;...

'Uddhav Thackeray Has Weakened His Stand Against BJP, Eknath Shinde': VBA Chief Prakash Ambedkar

'Uddhav Thackeray Has Weakened His Stand Against BJP, Eknath Shinde': VBA Chief Prakash Ambedkar

'Who Are You To Tell Us To Remove Jai Bhavani?': Uddhav Thackeray Rebukes Election Commission's...

'Who Are You To Tell Us To Remove Jai Bhavani?': Uddhav Thackeray Rebukes Election Commission's...

'Right To Speedy Trial Is Fundamental Right Of Undertrial Prisoner': Special Court Affirms; Grants...

'Right To Speedy Trial Is Fundamental Right Of Undertrial Prisoner': Special Court Affirms; Grants...

ED Raids In Multiple Cities Over ₹500 Cr Money Laundering Probe Involving OctaFx Trading App

ED Raids In Multiple Cities Over ₹500 Cr Money Laundering Probe Involving OctaFx Trading App