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Speed up fencing work at national park: High court

mumbai Updated: Nov 24, 2010 01:39 IST
Urvi Mahajani
Urvi Mahajani
Hindustan Times
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Expressing anger over the dispute between two government bodies on whether a stretch of road fell in the forest area or outside it, the Bombay High Court has directed the government to complete the fencing around Sanjay Gandhi National Park at the earliest.

A division bench of justice PB Majmudar and justice Mridula Bhatkar, on Tuesday, was hearing petitions filed by builders and residents challenging the cordoning off of a stretch of road near Tikuji Ni Wadi, an amusement park in Thane.

In 2003, the high court had directed that fencing be put up around the national park to prevent encroachment. Only 40 km of the 107 sq km park has been fenced. The high court has asked government pleader Nitin Deshpande to inform the chief minister and forest minister about the order to ensure speedy compliance of the fencing order.

A road passes through Tikuji Ni Wadi, which divides the place into forest and non-forest areas. According to Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) records, the road is in the non-forest area. The high court has also appointed a superintendent of land records to visit the area on November 28 and submit a report in court.

A petition was filed by M/s Cosmos Constructions, which has projects coming up in the area.

An intervention petition was filed by Neelkanth Mansions and Infrastructure Private Limited. Sanjay Jain, advocate for Neelkanth, said the TMC plans show that the road is in the non-forest area in the Development Plan.

A survey by taluka inspector, land revenue department, in 2004 and 2006 shows that a road that passed through Tikuji Ni Wadi was in the non-forest area. Deshpande argued that the deputy collector had ruled that the road was on forest land. As per the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, the area in forest land belongs to the state government, Deshpande said.