Navi Mumbai: CIDCO seeks environment board’s clearance for 106ha Kharghar Hill Plateau township; activists miffed

The environmentalists believe that the area is biologically and hydrologically rich and needs concentrated conservation instead.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Tuesday, September 27, 2022, 09:27 PM IST
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CIDCO | Photo: Representative Image

Navi Mumbai: The City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) sought state environment department’s permit for developing a 106-hectare residential-cum-commercial township on the Kharghar Hill Plateau in the city, stated reports.

CIDCO’s move however irked environmentalists who lamented that the project will be bad for the biodiversity present in the project’s vicinity.

What will the project include?

The Kharghar project will be built at a cost of Rs 18,900 crore and will house nearly 11,985 people of residential population and around 6,450 of commercial population, read a report in the Hindustan Times. The project includes amenities like residential apartments, bungalows, resorts, hotels and for sale commercial spaces.

Reportedly, CIDCO had told the state government that Kharghar Hill project will be completed within four years from first date of construction to obtain the terms of reference (ToR) which the project was granted on August 22.

The project is expected to be completed within four years from the first date of construction, per documents submitted by CIDCO to the state government on August 18, for obtaining terms of reference (ToR) for the project. The project was granted ToR on August 22, allowing CIDCO to proceed with an environment impact assessment (EIA) study on the basis of which environmental clearance (EC) may be granted.

Environmentalists oppose

The Kharghar Hill Plateau is rocky outcrop and has a scenic view of waterfalls and waterbodies of Navi Mumbai including the Pandavkada Falls, Owe Dam and check dam near Artists’ Village.

The environmentalists believe that the area is biologically and hydrologically rich and needs concentrated conservation instead.

Nareshchandra Singh, co-founder of Kharghar Wetlands and Hills citizens’ group was quoted in HT citing Bombay Natural History Society’s study of region carried out by CIDCO’s request in 2007 and said that there are patches of protected forest land surrounding the project site and the development as such will disrupt the ecology completely.

The report further explored the BNHS report which was conducted for Nature Park project. The report states that there is a rich biodiversity in the region including fauna like Indian flying fox, European roller and many birds including greater spotted eagle, which has been classified ‘vulnerable’ by the IUCN.

Moreover, two tribal villages, Fanaspada and Chaphewadi also exist in the project area; the CIDCO’s pre-feasibility report reads that the developable land is very little in the region.

Nikhil Bhopale, managing trustee of Green Works Trust who has surveyed the region previously told HT there are 181 recorded bird species in the area which needs conservation and developing such vast township will set a poor precedent for protection of the region.

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