In a new twist to the 25,138.86 sqm CRZ-dominated plot issue, Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has asserted that it will insist on saving the property for civic amenities even as the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has barred CIDCO from going ahead with construction plans.
NGT’s West Zone Bench has ruled that CIDCO cannot plan any construction of residential-cum-commercial buildings on the plot confirming that the land falls under CRZ1A and 2 being close to mangroves along the Thane Creek.
While observing that CIDCO could limit the construction plans to the non-CRZ part of the plot, the Bench suggested that the NMMC could be allowed to develop social facilities as per the civic body’s draft development plan (DP).
NatConnect Foundation, which first raised the alarm against the CIDCO project in violation of the CRZ norms, requested NMMC Commissioner Rajesh Narvekar to take up the issue in light of the NGT ruling and insist on saving it. “Yes, we are insisting,” Narvekar responded via a WhatsApp message to NatConnect director B N Kumar.
When contacted, NMMC assistant director for town planning Somanath Kekan said the civic body would go ahead with its civic amenities project on the plot (2A in sectors 54-56-58, Nerul) as per the DP.
NatConnect requests govt, CIDCO to respect the order
Meanwhile, hailing the NGT ruling, NatConnect has requested the State government and CIDCO to respect the order and not move the Supreme Court. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's office has also responded to NatConnect request to instruct CIDCO to honour the NGT ruling and not challenge in the Supreme Court. The CMO has referred the email to the Urban Development Department Principal Secretary for action, Kumar said.
In submission to NGT, even the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) has confirmed that one-third of the 25,138.86 sqm plot falls under CRZ 1 and a similar area under CRZ2. NGT ruled, hence, that development is permissible only in a non-CRZ area which is just about 8,000 sq mtr.
Utilising FSI arising out of CRZ area for developing non-CRZ area
CIDCO, meanwhile, sought to utilise the FSI arising out of the CRZ area for developing the non-CRZ area with residential-cum-commercial properties. The NGT bench - consisting of Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh as judicial member and Dr. Vijay Kulkarni, expert member -however rejected this argument.
Environment lover Ritu Mittal said the NGT ruling is a victory for the common people of Navi Mumbai in their fight “to save our mangroves, ecosystem and environment”.
The NGT ruling came on two separate applications filed by Navi Mumbai Environment Preservation Society and a group of citizens - Rekha Sankhala, Manmeet Singh Khurana, Ritu Mittal, R K Narayan, Mahendra Singh Panghaal and Anjali Agarwal.