Navi Mumbai: Residents Voice Concerns To CM Eknath Shinde Over Changes Proposed In Developmental Plan By NMMC

Navi Mumbai: Residents Voice Concerns To CM Eknath Shinde Over Changes Proposed In Developmental Plan By NMMC

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) has acknowledged the letter and forwarded it to the concerned department for immediate action.

Bhalchandra ChorghadeUpdated: Wednesday, April 03, 2024, 06:49 PM IST
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Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde | X/CMO

Deeply concerned and anguished with the changes proposed in the development plan (DP) prepared by the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC), the residents have written a letter to the Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on March 28, 2024, seeking to listen to their concerns and arrive at a positive conclusion. The residents have also requested the Chief Minister to not allow changes proposed by NMMC as also hand over the mangroves along city’s coast to the forest department which has requested for transfer to them for preservation. The Chief Minister's Office (CMO) acknowledged the letter on April 1, 2024.

NMMC Unveils Its First Development Plan After 33 Years

NMMC recently published its development plan for the first time since its inception 33 years ago. The plan is aimed at guiding the city's growth and development over the next two decades. The key objectives and goals of the plan include improving transportation, modernizing the infrastructure, creating more affordable housing options, and enhancing the quality of life for the city's residents.

Residents have lodged their strong protest and opposition to the changes proposed in the Nerul node, in particular and has requested the Chief Minister to give them an opportunity to present their case should the state government consider the changes proposed by the NMMC.

Residents Seek Protection Of Mangroves And Green Zones

Stating that the west side of the arterial Palm Beach Road is full of thick mangroves and local species, is a natural green zone and habitat for local flora and fauna, marine creatures. This area also provides a sanctuary to many migratory birds particularly flamingos. This calls for protection, preservation and nurturing the green belt in the interest of environment and ecology in the context of global warming witnessed by extreme climatic events like unseasonal flooding etc.

“However, the changes proposed by NMMC in the development plan will result in existing water bodies and mangroves areas diverted by reclamation for residential and other uses. Reclamation of land in Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) area is not permissible for residential use and all existing water bodies and wetlands are to be protected, the civic body has proposed such changes which, if allowed, will lead to attempts by vested interests for illegal development and citizens taking recourse to legal remedies to enforce rules and regulation for preservation of environment,” the residents say and urged the government authorities to not to accept the changes and prevent the local citizens from approaching the judiciary for redressal.

Residents Allege Illegal Conversion Of Chanakya Lake Area From Water Body to Residential Zone

Taking strong objection to the changes proposed in Nerul node, the residents stated in the letter that these changes are illegal and improper. “As per the changes proposed by NMMC, the land existing as water body in pocket A of sector 60 is now proposed to be changed to residential. This area is popularly known as Chanakya lake as it is next to TS Chanakya Maritime Institute on the west side abutting the Thane creek. It appears that not referring to Chanakya lake in the description is an attempt to make the proposed change appear innocuous when it is a very major deviation to use an existing lake full of local and migratory birds and is also connected to the Thane creek which replenishes the water in the lake,” the residents claim.

Legal Protections For Chanakya Lake And Wetlands

They added that Chanakya Lake is protected by the Bombay High Court interim order dated April 29, 2014 as well as final order dated November 1, 2018 in the matter of NMEPS PIL 218 of 2013 and Sunil Agarwal PIL 58 of 2018. Similarly, the TS Chanakya wetlands is one of the wetlands forming part of National Wetlands Atlas and is protected by the Bombay High Court dated October 14, 2013 and July 25, 2016 in the PIL no. 87/ 2013 as well as the Supreme Court order of February 8, 2017 and October 4, 2017.

This as well as other water bodies are populated by flamingos and other migratory birds as well as local species and is frequented by bird lovers. Being part of CRZ and wetland/intertidal water body (also included in the National Wetland Atlas), this land area cannot be used for any other purpose, the residents claim and expressed their resentment over irresponsible act to ignore the laws of the land at the altar of business interests.

Residents Urge CM to Halt Unlawful Changes in Development Plan

“The National Green Tribunal, the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court have passed clear cut orders to preserve mangroves and wetlands but the public institutions like NMMC and CIDCO are unable to implement them for the reasons known only to them,” the resident stated in the letter and asked the Chief Minister to help prevent these unlawful activities.

“The above changes proposed by NMMC in the development plan are against public policy, CRZ rules, wetlands act and mangroves protection. These changes are also not keeping with the government policy to protect environment and green cover which fortunately is gifted by nature to this coastal area,” the letter added. Meanwhile, the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) has acknowledged the letter and forwarded it to the concerned department for immediate action. 

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