No changes proposed at nature park in Mumbai, says Maharashtra CM | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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No changes proposed at nature park in Mumbai, says Maharashtra CM

Says it was shown as part of Dharavi Redevelopment Project only due to its proximity to slum area

mumbai Updated: Mar 23, 2018 10:57 IST
Faisal Malik
The 37-acre Mahim Nature Park is one of the few remaining ‘lungs’ of the city.
The 37-acre Mahim Nature Park is one of the few remaining ‘lungs’ of the city. (HT FILE)

After facing flak from all corners, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday said that the Maharashtra government will not allow any construction work at Mahim Nature Park and has no such plans for the same.

“It was just a confusion, which got created after the Mahim Nature Park was shown as part of Dharavi Redevelopment Project (DRP). The nature park was made part of DRP considering its proximity with Dharavi. The government has no plans to allow any construction at the nature park. Its face will not be changed,” Fadnavis said in the state assembly.

The issue was raised by Shiv Sena legislator Sunil Prabhu during zero hour.

There were reports that the government has planned to hand over the 37-acre Mahim Nature Park to the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) for the proposed DRP. The controversy arose after SRA, the nodal agency to implement the redevelopment of Dharavi, Asia’s biggest slum, invited suggestions and objections from the public to include the nature park in the development of Sector 5 of the project. The government was facing severe criticism for the proposal.

The forested park, which was slowly converted from a wasteland to a green patch, is spread along the south bank of Mithi river.

The state government said that when the park opened to the public first in 1994, authorities expected that it would see three million visitors a year. But in the first year, it saw only 5,000 visitors. In 2013, the footfall had dropped to 100.

The MMRDA, which is in charge of the park, had also planned a makeover and had called for designs from global players, the government said. In January 2017, it also selected one company to implement the makeover, which envisaged an amphitheatre, viewing platforms, reservoir, watch tower, cafeteria, library, canopied walkway and floating boardwalk along the periphery of the park for a close view of the mangroves and mudflats.