Maharashtra govt gives nod to grant 1.44 acre of mangrove land for Thane-Dombivli bridge
The state forest department on Monday approved to grant around 1.44 acre (0.58 hectare) of mangrove forest land to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for constructing a six-lane bridge over the Ulhas creek connecting Thane and Dombivli. The decision was taken following approval from the Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) received in April this year.
Construction of the 980-metre-long bridge on the Mankoli-Motagaon road will cost ₹223 crore. The bridge will connect Thane and Dombivli via the Nashik highway. Once completed, the bridge will reduce the commute between the two cities by over an hour. “We have issued orders to allow the use of the plot for constructing the bridge after receiving permission from the MoEFCC. The ministry has also laid down some conditions, which will be implemented by the MMRDA. It [MMRDA] has already started implementing some of the conditions,” said Virendra Tiwari, additional principal chief conservator of forests.
The MoEFCC in its permission issued on April 8 had laid down 30 conditions that have to be followed by the MMRDA. For instance, the legal status of the diverted forest land shall remain unchanged; compensatory afforestation over the degraded forest land of one hectare in lieu of forest land being diverted shall be raised and maintained by the state forest department at the cost of MMRDA; the agency (MMRDA) shall transfer the cost of raising and maintaining of compensatory afforestation and penal compensatory afforestation at the current wage rate to the forest department.
As the plot is full of mangroves, the state had also obtained a nod from the Bombay HC in November 2016, said a forest official.