Mumbai-Nagpur corridor: Maharashtra to unlock more green zones, forest land for new towns
The move follows the government’s proposal last month to change the reservation of land in 28 villages across five districts to new towns from NDZs or agriculture zones.mumbai Updated: Jul 21, 2017 10:17 IST
The Maharashtra government has proposed setting aside land in 16 villages across four districts — which fall in either agricultural, no-development, green or forest zones — for new towns along the alignment of the proposed showpiece Mumbai-Nagpur expressway.
The land in five of these villages, in the Kalyan tehsil of the Thane district, falls under the green zone or forest zones, while in 11 others across Amravati, Aurangabad and Ahmednagar, the land is currently designated as either agricultural land or a No Development Zone (NDZ).
The move follows the government’s proposal last month to change the reservation of land in 28 villages across five districts — Nagpur, Amravati, Washim, Aurangabad and Ahmednagar — to new towns from NDZs or agriculture zones.
The state urban development department issued draft notifications dated July 14, inviting suggestions and objections on its latest proposal. The department has also proposed to designate the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) as the ‘new town development authority’ for the villages. The MSRDC is the state’s implementing agency for the 706-km Mumbai-Nagpur expressway, one of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ pet projects.
An official from the state urban development department said, “To have planned and orderly development along the highway, the state government thought it is necessary to remove these villages from the green zone, forest areas and NDZs, and designate them as ‘new towns’ instead.”
Green zones and NDZs are areas where the government permits restricted development only for a limited list of activities. The forest zone is a highly restricted zone comprising forests protected under the Indian Forests Act, and any activity here usually requires a special forest clearance.
A senior MSRDC official said, “These are places where the highway will have interchanges. We don’t want haphazard development to crop up at the interchanges once the corridor is complete. The MSRDC will plan the development at these interchanges and will be the authority to give permissions for any construction that takes place here.”
Earlier, the state government planned on acquiring land at all interchanges of the Mumbai-Nagpur expressway and develop 24 nodes or ‘agro prosperity centres.’ The nodes were to be equipped with basic infrastructure such as roads, hospitals, schools, colleges, electricity, water supply, fire brigade services, space for commercial activities such as industries, shops and hotels, as well as food processing units, godowns for agricultural produce, cold storage facilities and so on. However, with the project, overall, facing stiff resistance for land acquisition in certain pockets, the MSRDC has decided to restrict its role to planning and giving development permissions, while actually developing only six nodes.
First Published: Jul 21, 2017 10:17 IST