Citizens fighting to save Mumbai’s coastal ecology will have to wait longer to scrutinise the new coastal zone management plan (CZMP) maps, as the civic body is yet to send its feedback on the draft version of these maps.
The old CZMP maps, finalised in 2000, expired sixth months ago as per the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) notification, 2011.
The state government had asked the Institute of Remote Sensing (IRS), Chennai, to prepare the new maps on a scale of 1:4000, which provides finer resolution while classifying and demarcating coastal areas.
Coastal maps are not only essential to clear development projects but have also been used extensively by activists to save mangroves, wetlands and mudflats from encroachments.
The CRZ notification makes it mandatory to make the new maps public.
According to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials, unlike the previous study, the new geomorphological study of coastal areas includes classification of CRZ areas and demarcation of mangroves, mudflats, wetlands and salt pans with corresponding colour codes.
Activists said the scrutiny of the new maps is important as the state sent a number of requests to the National Coastal Zone Management Authority (NCZMA) for reclassification of coastal areas. The NCZMA noted that 90-95% of reclassification requests came from Maharashtra – particularly Mumbai.
Last month, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan admitted that close to 500 buildings in the city and Navi Mumbai did not have green clearance.
Activists said that the civic body and the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) should also provide copies of old maps.
“The old maps laid down everything clearly, but the civic body and MCZMA have routinely allowed developmental projects in CRZI or no-development zones.
Mangroves and wetlands were destroyed after the old maps came out, so a comparative study of old and new maps is necessary,” said Sumesh Lekhi, trustee, Oshiwara-Lokhandwala Citizens’ Association.