Revise Navi Mumbai transport hub plan to save mangroves, says MCZMA

According to MMRDA, the corridor will reduce travel time by acting as a connector between the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) and NH4B, connecting Mumbai to Goa on one end and the Mumbai-Pune Expressway with NH 17 on the other end.
The project is passing through mangroves and their 50m buffer zone area close to the Karanja creek.(HT File / Representative Photo)
The project is passing through mangroves and their 50m buffer zone area close to the Karanja creek.(HT File / Representative Photo)
Updated on Aug 15, 2019 12:21 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Mumbai | By, Mumbai

Upholding the Bombay high court’s (HC) September 2018 order to protect mangroves, the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) has asked the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to revise its plan for a major transport corridor passing through Navi Mumbai. The coastal body directed MMRDA to “explore a different alignment” for the proposed 18-km multimodal corridor, extending from Chirner village in Uran to Balavali on national highway (NH) 17.

The details were released after MCZMA published the minutes of its 135th meeting on its website on Tuesday. “The project is passing through mangroves and their 50m buffer zone area close to the Karanja creek. MMRDA will have to look at alternative options to minimise mangrove destruction,” said a senior MCZMA official.

According to MMRDA, the corridor will reduce travel time by acting as a connector between the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) and NH4B, connecting Mumbai to Goa on one end and the Mumbai-Pune Expressway with NH 17 on the other end. Sanjay Khandare, MMRDA’s additional metropolitan commissioner, said, “We will take some time to examine the matter since the minutes have been published recently. As of now, the Vashi Bridge is the only route to go from Mumbai to Pune or Goa. With this project, people can move directly from south Mumbai using MTHL saving 55 minutes to an hour of commute.”

“MMRDA needs to consult the mangrove cell. Area of mangroves proposed to be cut should be submitted along with mangrove afforestation plan. Mangrove cell shall give a separate report based on site visit. An environment impact assessment (EIA) report for the entire stretch of the project on ‘ecologically sensitive areas such as mangroves and mudflats along with its mitigation measures’ needs to be submitted, the minutes said adding, “MMRDA needs to submit a clarification whether the project involves reclamation of coastal water bodies. MMRDA has not carried out a public hearing for the project,” read the minutes of the meeting. “The authority (MCZMA) after deliberation decided to defer the project for submission of information by MMRDA.”

A multimodal corridor is a single corridor, which facilitates multiple modes of transport, including buses (through a bus rapid transit system), Metro rail and cars. It also includes utilities such as water, sewage and gas pipeline. The 18-km proposed corridor in Navi Mumbai will extend from Chirner village in Uran (under the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust area) to Balavali on the national highway (NH) 17. It will have six flyovers, three vehicular underpasses, two overpasses, eight bridges and a 0.8-km long tunnel.

According to Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, the corridor will act as a connector between the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) and NH4B, connecting Mumbai to Goa on one end and the Mumbai-Pune Expressway with NH 17 on the other end. The entire project will span across 220.39 hectare including forests, mangroves, and agricultural areas. It will pass 2.3 km east of Karnala Bird Sanctuary. Experts say work will require destruction of 19.95 hectares of mangrove forests located close to Patalganga river and Karanja creek in Raigad.

On September 17, 2018, the HC had said, “No development permission whatsoever shall be issued by any authority in Maharashtra in respect of any area under mangroves. Regardless of ownership of the land having mangroves and the area of the land, all constructions taking place within 50m on all sides of mangroves shall be forthwith stopped.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Badri Chatterjee is an environment correspondent at Hindustan Times, Mumbai. He writes about environment issues - air, water and noise pollution, climate change - weather, wildlife - forests, marine and mangrove conservation

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