Rs 1-crore Versova beach beautification plan rejected for 3rd time
The state’s coastal authority recently rejected a proposal to beautify Versova beach for the third time, citing concerns of environmental destruction.
Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) scrapped the ₹1-crore proposed project under ‘beach development for tourism’ by the slum board of Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA). The body had sought the construction of pathways, watchtowers, statues, decorative lights, fountains, relaxation benches, well-lit landscape zone with better sanitation facilities and tourist spots. However, MCZMA highlighted that the coastal ecology would be affected as the area falls in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) I.
A senior MCZMA member, who did not wish to be named, said, “We rejected the proposal. MHADA said paving of pathways on the beach and intertidal areas would be done using eco-friendly material such as bamboos, wood etc. among other proposed constructions. However, according to CRZ norms, this cannot be done in intertidal zones or areas less than 50m from mangroves.”
MHADA officials said following the decision, they decided to discard the plan which was first proposed in 2017.
“We have no option but to dump this proposal, as clear instructions have been issued by the state to protect the beach. Even our eco-friendly measures were rejected. We will analyse where we went wrong,” said BG Tripathi, executive engineer, MHADA slum board.
The decision was taken during a hearing of the proposal last month. The minutes of the meeting were published earlier this week. HT has a copy it.
The plans were first heard on November 2, 2018, and March 3 this year, but rejected both times for its close proximity to the mangrove areas and the possibility of intertidal marine life being affected owing to the project.
“Only basic beach facilities like benches, garbage bins, and temporary toilets could be allowed. MHADA needs to revise their proposal again in light of the observations of MCZMA. However, other activities including landscaping features need to be avoided,” the minutes read.