‘Stop work on Uran railway station, flyover on wetland patch’Updated: Feb 14, 2020 00:01 IST
Environmentalists have raised an alarm against the destruction of a 25-acre water body and mangrove patches at Uran for a railway project and a flyover which is under construction.
Activists from NatConnect Foundation and Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishthan (SEAP) filed complaints with the Bombay high court (HC)-appointed state mangrove committee and the environment department seeking immediate halt to the work.
Eco-sensitive zones in Uran, Navi Mumbai have seen severe ecological destruction for infrastructure projects, which has not only impacted fishing habitats but also led to the flooding of 20 of 26 villages, affecting 1,236 families during monsoon last year.
The petitioners alleged that wetland areas at Bokadvira village, where 15 families were affected during monsoon floods, were being filled with soil for the project which will affect the locals during monsoon.
While the City Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) is building the flyover, Central Railways (CR) is in charge of the railway project. The Uran railway project on the 26.7-km stretch from Nerul to Kharkopar to Uran was proposed to accelerate the growth of Navi Mumbai by providing direct access between Uran, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, and other areas of Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). CR and Cidco are sharing the cost of project in 33:67 ratio.
While the 12.4-km stretch from Nerul to Kharkopar and Belapur to Kile junction has been completed under phase I, work on 14.3-km between Kharkopar and Uran is currently underway. “Of this 14.3 km, land acquisition for around 3 km area, which includes forest zones, is being done in coordination with Cidco and the forest department. The rest of the work is on fast track,” said Sunil Udasi, chief public relations officer, CR.
The petitioners alleged that construction of pillars for the flyover and the foundation work for the railway project has begun without any public consultation or assessing the impact it might have on the locals. “Even a basic environment impact assessment for loss of mangroves has not been carried out considering both projects are linear infrastructure,” said Nandkumar Pawar, head, SEAP.
BN Kumar, director, NatConnect Foundation, said, “These wetland areas act as sponge and absorb rainwater and excess tidewater. Currently, development work on both the sides has to stagnation of water at this site. There is also a rapid drop in the source of income for the fishing community as fish habitat has been impacted.”
The HC banned destruction of mangrove forests across the state and construction within 50m of mangroves on September 17, 2018.
Cidco said the water that had accumulated was from monsoon months. “The entire Bokadvira area does not have any mangroves and both projects are being undertaken on barren land. No adverse impact on environment will take place,” said Mallesha Pujari, executive engineer (civil), Cidco.