NAVI MUMBAI: The Raigad district has confirmed that the 289 hectare Panje wetland in Uran – equivalent to the size of about 30 Azad Maidans – is in for development as per the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) plans.
This has sent shock waves among environmentalists with NatConnect Foundation launching #FreedomForPanjeWetland drive.
Wetland marked as part of Dronagiri Development Plan
The wetland has been marked as sectors 16 to 28 as part of the Dronagiri Development Plan published by CIDCO and is under the control of Navi Mumbai Special Economic Zone (NMSEZ), the collector’s report to the High Court appointed wetland grievance redressal committee said.
The collector conducted a site inspection at the instance of the wetland committee to whom NatConnect complained against NMSEZ plans to build an IT Hub in Uran on wetlands and mangroves.
A large chunk of the area leased out to NMSEZ has thousands of mangroves and hundreds of hectares of intertidal wetlands, NatConnect director, B N Kumar, said in his complaints to the HC committee and the Chief Minister.
The collector’s report said there was no sign of any work in progress on the wetland nor was any loss of mangroves as yet. The wetland has not been listed or notified under the wetland rules of 2010, the report said.
NGT has confirmed status of intertidal wetland
The environment department in its affidavit to High Court said that Panje area, also known as Holding Pond 1 of Dronagiri node, falls under Coastal regulation Zone 1 and the then Minister Aditya Thackeray even banned any construction there. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has also confirmed the status of the intertidal wetland, said head of Ekvira Aai Pratishtan, Nandakumar Pawar.
Wetland Committee member Stalin D, director of Vanashakti, argued that it is wrong on part of CIDCO to wipe out the wetlands that ought to be protected as per the Supreme Court order to save water bodies above the size of 2.5 hectare. Listed or not listed, the wetlands have to be protected, he said.