NGT Says No Delay In NGO’s Appeal Over Balaji Temple

NGT Says No Delay In NGO’s Appeal Over Balaji Temple

The NGT was hearing the appeal filed by NatConnect, which has alleged that CIDCO flouted the norms and order of the Bombay High Court while allotting the land to Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam (TTD), which proposed to construct a Tirupati Venkateswara Swami Temple on a plot measuring 40,000 sq mt.

Bhalchandra ChorghadeUpdated: Friday, April 12, 2024, 08:18 AM IST
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The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has said that NGO NetConnect Foundation filed an appeal in the matter of Bali Temple land allotment in Ulwe to the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) well within the 60-day discretionary period. 

Ruling out any objections, the NGT observed that the delay in appeal, if any, is only because the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) failed to upload the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance dated November 20, 2023 on its website or on the website of the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEF&CC), despite being required to do so.

The NGT was hearing the appeal filed by NatConnect, which has alleged that CIDCO flouted the norms and order of the Bombay High Court while allotting the land to Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam (TTD), which proposed to construct a Tirupati Venkateswara Swami Temple on a plot measuring 40,000 sq mt. The planning agency allotted the land along the casting yard to TTD, which was opposed by environmentalists.

In the hearing on April 5, CIDCO and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) argued that the CRZ nod was given on November 11, 2023, and NatConnect should have moved its appeal earlier. NatConnect counsel pointed out that the CRZ nod was not in public domain and that they came to know of it only in January this year when the MCZMA presented the document to the NGT. 

On CIDCO’s argument that the allotment was made in May 2022, NatConnect said it had also complained to the MoEF&CC and the Chief Minister’s Office against the CRZ violations. After hearing arguments and counter-arguments, the NGT listed the matter for further hearing on April 25.

Earlier, the Environment and Climate Change department of the state government pleaded ignorance that the casting yard for Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, which the CIDCO gave to MMRDA, was built on mangroves; this had raised serious questions. CIDCO had allotted a 10 acre plot in April 2022 for the casting yard in Ulwe coastal area on a temporary basis. According to NatConnect Foundation, the place was thriving with biodiversity and a fishing zone till 2018 with tidal influential area, mudflats and sparse mangroves while the casting yard came up in 2019.

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