The Maharashtra State Wildlife Board decided, on Thursday, to forward the Navi Mumbai International Airport's wildlife clearance proposal to the National Board for Wildlife along with some crucial recommendations.
As per Supreme Court orders, any project within a 10-km radius of a protected area requires clearance from the wildlife board. The Navi Mumbai airport is located 9.5km from the Karnala Bird Sanctuary.
The city and industrial development corporation (CIDCO), in the Navi Mumbai airport environment impact assessment report, had incorrectly stated that the project was outside the 10-km radius of a protected area. The state forest department pointed out this incorrect information in March last year after which CIDCO approached the wildlife board.
The state wildlife board made four crucial recommendations while forwarding the proposal. The members have asked for a provision of Rs2 crore a year for 10 years to conserve protected areas around the airport and Rs400 crore for environment protection.
"We have also asked for the appointment of an additional principal conservator of forests on the environment monitoring committee of the Navi Mumbai airport project and also recommended that mitigation and project impact studies be carried out during the project work and after it is operational," said SWH Naqvi, principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), Maharashtra.
According to the on-going Avian Fauna study of the 10-km radius of the Navi Mumbai airport site by Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), the area is home to 213 bird species.
"Various projects coming up around the Karnala bird sanctuary would definitely have an impact on the ecology of birds," said Sujit Narwade, scientist, BNHS and author of the Avian Fauna study
Navi Mumbai airport project received environmental clearance in November 2010, but it is yet to receive clearance under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 to clear 108.50 hectares of mangroves.
During the meeting, the wildlife board sanctioned two proposals of wildlife sanctuaries. One will be at Tamhini ghat in Mulshi taluka of Pune district while another will be at Ishapur in Yavatmal district in Vidarbha region.