Mumbai civic body awaits green nod for waste water sewage plant
Mumbai’s ambitious waste water treatment plant (WwTP) in Malad is facing yet another hurdle. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is unable to identify 11 hectares of land to plant the mangroves that will be uprooted to construct the plant.
The land, once identified, will be handed over to the forest department in exchange for the WwTP site. In March, the civic body identified 24 hectares of land in Thane, handed it over to the forest department, and got clearance to cut the mangroves spread across 24 hectares at the water treatment site in Malad.
While BMC received the CRZ clearance from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority in 2017, it has not yet received a clearance from the forest department.
However, the acquisition of the remaining 11 hectares of land hit a roadblock after it met with opposition from the locals of the area, and had to give up the idea. A senior civic official from the MSDP department said, "Mumbai does not have so much land. We requested the Thane Municipal Commissioner to identify and hand over the land quickly. The 24 hectares of land already handed over to forest department was identified by the Thane commissioner in three nearby villages of Mogarpada, Tarodi, and Bhopar."
N Vasudevan, Chief Conservator of forest said, "BMC will have to identify and purchase the land, and hand it over to the forest department. But this has to be encroachment-free, and fit for the mangroves to survive. The forest department clears that deal only after inspection based on this criteria. We inspected the land twice before. It was encroached in one case, and locals opposed plantation of mangroves in the other case. This is a prerequisite for the construction."
The Malad WwTP, set to be the largest treatment plant in the city, will be spread over 35 hectares of land in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) I, which is thickly populated with mangroves. The plant is estimated to cost ₹2,000 crore, and is part of the ₹4,500-crore Mumbai Sewage Disposal Project II (MSDP II).
It will have the capacity to treat 605 million litres of sewage per day. Sanjay Mukherjee, additional municipal commissioner, said, "We will begin work on the Malad treatment plant soon. This will not only treat waste water, but create an additional supply of water to be used for non-potable purposes."