Navi Mumbai: NatConnect Challenges CRZ Nod For Balaji Temple At Ulwe Coast

Navi Mumbai: NatConnect Challenges CRZ Nod For Balaji Temple At Ulwe Coast

MCZMA said in its affidavit that the CRZ nod was granted based on the coastal zone management plan (CZMP)-2019 as approved by the MOEFCC.

Raina AssainarUpdated: Wednesday, May 01, 2024, 12:24 AM IST
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The Balaji temple Site | FPJ

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has admitted a city-based environmentalist’s application challenging the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) nod given for the Tirupati Balaji temple at Ulwe coast in Navi Mumbai.

The western zonal bench of the NGT, comprising Justice Dinesh Kumar as judicial member and Dr Vijay Kulkarni as the expert member, served notice to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC) to respond within four weeks.

NatConnect Foundation director B N Kumar argued that the allocation of a 10-acre plot and the CRZ nod are illegal as the land falls under CRZ1. The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) has wrongly given the CRZ nod as the application ought to have been made to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of India (MOEFCC).

NGT Admits Application Regarding TTD Temple Construction

The MCZMA allowed construction in non-CRZ area of the plot but permitted a compound wall and a lawn on the CRZ1 part, the 50-metre mangrove buffer zone. NatConnect had opposed this as well.

Taking note of the arguments from Kumar’s counsel Ronita Bhattacharya, the NGT bench admitted the application and posted the next hearing for August 30. The NGO contended that the temple is carved out of the temporary casting yard built for the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL).

The applicant presented Google Earth maps of the coastline showing intertidal wetland, mudflats and sparse mangroves before the casting yard came up in 2019.

MCZMA said in its affidavit that the CRZ nod was granted based on the coastal zone management plan (CZMP)-2019 as approved by the MOEFCC.

The NGT bench gave two weeks to advocate Bhattacharya to file a rejoinder to the MCZMA affidavit.

TTD Advocate Given Two Weeks For Response As Temple Land Dispute Continues

The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) advocate Satya Sabharwal was given two weeks to file his response to the case.

The controversy over the TTD temple dates to May 2022 when CIDCO allotted 10 acres from the casting yard plot which environmentalists and the local fishing community opposed.

The groundbreaking ceremony that was originally planned for August 2022 had to be rescheduled amid still opposition from locals and environmentalists. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis performed the Bhumi Puja in June last year.

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