The proposed Navi Mumbai airport or the 22-km long Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) will not be affected by the moratorium of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) on critically polluted industrial clusters.
The MOEF on Monday released the exact locations and boundaries of 43 such clusters (total 88), identified by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). By stating boundaries, the new order has restricted the gag order on development, which prohibited new construction in pollution-affected areas for a fixed period.
After the CPCB order in January, there was a concern that projects such as the 22 kms long MTHL, the new airport would be delayed because of an overall moratorium in the polluted clusters and near by areas.
Eight locations in the state, including Navi Mumbai, Chembur, Aurangabad, Tarapur, Chandrapur, Nasik, Dombivili were identified as critically polluted in January and the CPCB had ordered a temporary moratorium (till August 2010) on any development in these regions. Now, instead of Dombivili town, only Dombivili MIDC is termed as polluted, similarly not all of Navi Mumbai corporation limits but all industrial areas and Kalwa is polluted.
“We had made representations to the MOEF and CPCB that we cannot classify entire towns as polluted and we need a specific location. This comes as a relief because it is now clear that no big infrastructure project is affected,” said Valsa Nair, secretary of environment department.
The state’s environment department and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board had written eight letters to the CPCB complaining about this classification.
The CPCB chairman had earlier said that the moratorium would affect infrastructure projects in the vicinity because pollution was dynamic and development cannot be restricted only in the specific industrial cluster.
The report, on the basis of which these clusters were identified, said that in areas such as Chembur and Navi Mumbai, pollution had its effects on not just the industrial hub but extended over 2 km radius affecting 1 lakh people.
It is still not clear whether Mumbai Metro's second corridor and the monorail passing through Chembur will be affected because MOEF is still to specify exact boundaries for Chembur.