An aerial tour over Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) with amazing scenic view of the forest may soon be a reality. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is now contemplating building ropeway from Borivli to Thane in a bid to make the park a bigger attraction for the tourists.
However, environmentalists sai d this many not be a practical idea after all.
According to the MMRDA’s initial plan, an eight-km-long ropeway is now being planned across the forest between Borivli and Thane. However, the reason why this move has raised the hackles of environmentalists is because the present green rules do not allow construction activities in or over the national parks.
MMRDA additional commissioner Sanjay Sethi said “We want to start a ropeway service through the SGNP as major tourist attraction in the city. We have appointed a consultancy firm to check if the ropeway plan is feasible. The consultant will check how forest clearance for the plan can be obtained.”
The MMRDA will have to approach ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) for clearance.
Environmentalists said that the decision to build ropeway over the SGNP may not be practical. D Stalin of NGO- Vanshakti said “There is no need to appoint any consultant to check if approval for such project can be given as prescribed rules do not allow any construction activities over national parks.”
Interestingly, the state government already has planned tunnel road from Borivli to Thane through SGNP. Although the tunnel road may not have any negative impact on biodiversity, it can damage aquifer [layer of water-bearing permeable rock], thus drying up lakes in the vicinity.
SGNP is spread over an area 103 sq km, which is roughly 18-20% of Mumbai. It is one of the major forests on the earth being surrounded by metropolis.