The Bombay high court on Friday asked the City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) to approach the ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) to obtain permissions for clearing 108.50 hectares of mangroves at the Navi Mumbai airport site.
The directives were given while hearing an ongoing notice of motion filed by Cidco in September 2011, asking to be exempted from the procedure of obtaining permissions to clear the mangroves, which come in the way of aeronautical activities at the airport site.
Cidco, in its original notice of motion, had prayed that the HC’s October 2005 order that declares mangroves as protected forest be modified or amended to exempt them from seeking a fresh MoEF clearance under the Forest Conservation Act (FCA), 1980.
However, a bench of justice AM Khanwilkar and justice KK Tated noted: “The applicant [Cidco] will have to obtain permission from the appropriate authority in relation to coastal regulation zone restrictions and also seek a separate permission from the forest authority. Only after such permission is granted, the court may consider the matter further.”
Bombay Environmental Action Group, the petitioner, pointed out that bunding and destruction of mangroves had already started. Cidco officials said they were in the process of acquiring clearance under FCA, 1980. “A team from MoEF’s Bhopal office inspected the mangroves on January 17,” said GK Anarse, general manager, environment department, Cidco.