‘Transfer forest land for BKC, Dharavi stations for Metro-3’
The Maharashtra government recently directed that two patches of mangrove forest in Dharavi and Bandra-Kurla Complex – measuring 0.34hectares and 0.91hectares, respectively – be handed over to the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) to build the BKC and Dharavi stations on the Metro-3 (Colaba-SEEPZ) line. Officials in the forest department clarified that the handover will be made “at the earliest” by the mangrove cell.
Stage 1 and stage 2 clearance under the Forest Conservation Act (1980) had already been granted by the MoEFCC’s regional office in 2017 and 2019. “What remains is for the land to be handed to the user agency, namely the MMRCL, so that work can proceed. The land will be transferred shortly by the DFO, MMCU. All other clearances, including CRZ and permission from the High Court for diversion of mangroves, are in order,” said Virendra Tiwari, additional principal chief conservator of forest (APCCF), mangrove cell.
As per guidelines laid down by the National Green Tribunal, the user agency is mandated to issue a public notice so that any objections may be directed by citizens and interest groups to the NGT directly.
The MMRCL issued a public notice on April 8, along with copies of the Stage 1 and 2 clearance (which are also available on its website). The clearances were issued in 2017 and 2019, followed by the state government order for transfer of land on March 23.
Official estimates suggest that about 1,000 mangrove trees will be cleared in total for both stations. To mitigate this loss, the MMRCL had submitted an in-situ mangrove conservation plan to the forest department. In addition to this, the MMRCL has been directed to plant 5,000 mangrove trees at an alternate site for compensatory afforestation.
Land transferred for creek bridge
In a boost to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s (MMRDA) Vasai-Bhayander creek bridge project, the Central government’s Department for promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has transferred a 9.86-hectare land parcel to the state government’s urban development department for construction of the bridge. MMRDA, on Thursday, called the move a major breakthrough for the project that is expected to cut travel time between the Vasai and Bhayander by 45 minutes.