Navi Mumbai: A citizens' group that successfully contested the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) at the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to prevent the auction of a plot falling under CRZ IA and CRZ-II, is now seeking the support of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) in their ongoing mission to safeguard the environment.
Despite the NGT's favourable ruling, the citizens' group remains concerned that CIDCO may appeal to a higher court against the decision. Recognising NMMC's opposition to the auctioning of plots earmarked for social facilities, the citizens' group has reached out to the civic administration, urging them to join their fight to protect the environment. Notably, former corporator Netra Shirke has also joined their cause and represented the citizens' group before the commissioner.
In the Draft Development Plan for 2018-38, the civic body designated the plot as open space, opposing any form of development for commercial purposes.
Citizen's group fear CIDCO might seek help of higher court
The citizens' group is apprehensive that CIDCO may indeed seek recourse in higher courts to assert its claims. They are appealing to NMMC for guidance and support to thwart CIDCO's efforts to commercialize the plot. Furthermore, the citizens hope that NMMC will remain committed to keeping the area green. The region is not only ecologically sensitive but also falls within the flight path of thousands of flamingos that annually land and nest at DPS Lake Nerul.
Rekha Sankhala, a member of the group, stated, "We are hopeful that NMMC will stand with us in our endeavours to preserve the environment, ensuring that the natural green cover does not succumb to the encroachment of concrete and pollution." She added that the citizens of Navi Mumbai are brimming with courage, hope, and joy following the recent resolute judgment by the Hon’ble judges at NGT. The verdict unequivocally disallows any construction in accordance with the CRZ notification.
NGT issued an order barring CIDCO
On October 11, 2023, the Western Zone Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) issued an order barring CIDCO from selling, transferring, or granting leasehold rights for plot number 2A in sectors 54, 56, and 58 of Nerul (West), Navi Mumbai for residential and commercial construction purposes, except for the area outside the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ).
Last year, in June-July, CIDCO had auctioned a 25,138.86 sqm plot in sectors 54, 56, and 58 in Nerul through a tender, which partially fell under CRZ-I and CRZ-II. This auction faced opposition from environmentalists. The plot, situated near the upscale NRI Seawoods Estates and the newly constructed water taxi jetty, received a bid of Rs 1.51 lakhs per sq meter from Bhagwati Empire. Subsequently, CIDCO cancelled the auction, citing low prices.