Navi Mumbai: 'Nerul’s Lotus Lake Not A Wetland,' Claims Govt Dept In Bombay High Court

Navi Mumbai: 'Nerul’s Lotus Lake Not A Wetland,' Claims Govt Dept In Bombay High Court

State environment dept makes a shocking disclosure in Bombay HC; environmentalists say the affidavit ignores Supreme Court orders.

Bhalchandra ChorghadeUpdated: Thursday, February 29, 2024, 12:51 AM IST
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Lotus Lake, Navi Mumbai |

In a shocking disclosure, the affidavit submitted by the Maharashtra State Environment & Climate Control department to the Bombay High Court claims that there is only one verified wetland in Thane, including Navi Mumbai. It does not mention Lotus Lake in Sector 27, Nerul as a wetland.

Details of the affidavit

As per the affidavit, the information regarding wetlands was received from the Thane collector and was tabled in the meeting of State Wetland Authority, which directed the Collector to submit revised documents with the help of the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management, Chennai. Sources said the state government will enter into an agreement with the Chennai centre to prepare a brief document on wetlands in Maharashtra.

"As far as the issue of whether Lotus Lake in Navi Mumbai is a wetland or not, it is still inconclusive. Its status will be ascertained only after the Chennai centre prepares the document," the affidavit stated.

"It’s shocking that this affidavit ignores the Supreme Court orders"

This has left environmentalists in the satellite city baffled. "It’s shocking that this affidavit ignores the Supreme Court orders protecting 2.01 lakh wetlands of size more than 2.25 hectares and also the official memorandum issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEF&CC). These wetlands were saved by the Bombay High Court order of November 1, 2018 as they are a part of National Wetlands Inventory and Assessment Atlas and protected by the Supreme Court order of February 2017 and October 2017," activists said.

Meanwhile, the Thane District Collectorate has stated that a report to declare Lotus Lake as a wetland has already been submitted to the government. However, the CIDCO administration has raised an objection, stating that the site is not a wetland on the basis of the Maharashtra Remote Sensing Applications Centre map and other documents.

“Such a stand by the state environment department will spell doom for Navi Mumbai as all the coastal wetlands providing protection from floods and monsoon heavy rains will be destroyed, only to be sold to the builders by CIDCO. The Chief Minister should ensure that no wetlands are destroyed and the eco-system is conserved at any cost,” environmentalist Sunil Agrawal said.

“As a member of the wetland committee constituted in 2019 for the survey of the 132 wetlands in Thane, I find it strange that only six wetlands have been recognised despite giving an honest unbiased report which has not seen the light of the day. Using the so-called revised definition of Central Government Wetland Rule, 2017, all human-made wetlands, paddy-fields, backwaters of dams – big and small, and those under the purview of the irrigation department and forest department – are to be removed,” said Prof Clara Correia, a member of wetland committee.

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