The wait for the Navi Mumbai airport just got a little longer.
The Centre has asked the state government to rework the environmental conditions it will follow while constructing the airport.
“We are not going to give any relaxation on giving clearances to projects near polluted clusters which we have notified,” Union Environment and Forests Minister, Jairam Ramesh, said at a conference on climate change, organised by the Yashwantrao Chavan Pratishthan at Nariman Point on Saturday.
Hindustan Times had first reported how the Union government had issued a notification on January 13 restricting environmental clearances to development projects coming up in Navi Mumbai, and some parts of northeast Mumbai among eight industrial areas in the state.
The diktat affected several important projects including the Navi Mumbai Airport. “Because the airport site is ecologically sensitive, we have looked into the terms put forth by the government and asked it to add some bits that will be environmentally viable,” said Ramesh. “The notification remains until we see visible changes made by state government.”
Ramesh said he will meet Chief Minister, Ashok Chavan, on April 11 to discuss this issue and the coastal regulation rules.
During a meeting at Mantralaya, the Mumbai Intern-ational Airport Ltd demanded that the state waive off non-agricultural tax and electricity duty. Chavan has asked officials to examine the demand.
Conserving the Western Ghats
A panel of ecological experts, headed by environmentalist Madhav Gadgil, will map the areas in the Western Ghats to be protected and the type of intervention needed. “One-third of the Western Ghats is in Maharashtra and is one of the four main green areas in India. It also makes up for 30 per cent of plant and bird species, although it occupies only 6 per cent of India’s land mass,” Ramesh said.
The Ministry Of Environment and Forests is going slow on clearances for power and port projects in these districts. “There needs to be a survey done immediately to study the carrying capacity of the ecology. We are reaching saturation limits,” Ramesh said.
Mumbai, which is fast urbanising, needs to have a separate climate change action plan Ramesh said. He added that the Centre is examining proposals for two zoos, one as an extension of the Borivli National park and the other in Nagpur.