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Uran bypass to reduce traffic snarls at cost of 1,350 mangroves

The 1.8-km road proposed to be built by the City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) to connect Uran and Panvel will cut through two creeks and destroy more than 1,350 mangrove trees

mumbai Updated: Aug 18, 2018 05:41 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Uran,Panvel,Uran bypass
HT found large tracts of cut mangroves and even areas where hacked mangrove trees were stored by unknown persons, a clear violation of Bombay High Court orders and Environment Protection Act, 1986, near Gavaan village in Uran taluka, in Mumbai, India, on Friday, May 25, 2018. (Pratik Chorge/HT File Photo)

The 1.8-km road proposed to be built by the City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) to connect Uran and Panvel will cut through two creeks and destroy more than 1,350 mangrove trees, local fishermen said.

Fishing communities from Navi Mumbai have been opposing the road construction near Hanuman Koliwada, a village in Uran taluka, saying the project is yet to receive environment clearances from the Union environment ministry. NGO Shree Ekvira Aai Pratishthan (SEAP) filed a complaint regarding the same on Friday with the Konkan commissioner, chairman of the HC-appointed Wetland and Mangrove Grievance Redressal Committee. Konkan commissioner Jagdish Patil said he was aware about the development. “Until we receive reports of environmental clearance from state and Centre, and a plan for compensatory afforestation, such a project won’t be allowed. However, the bypass is needed to reduce daily traffic snarls,” he said.

“Considering Raigad district already saw heavy flooding during rains, especially in Uran and Palghar, destroying mangroves will only increase inundation,” said Nandkumar Pawar, head, SEAP. “The road will cater to areas where new housing projects are coming up by destroying wetlands. We oppose this venture which affects our livelihood and the ecology.”

HT has reported about seven cases in which wetlands and mangroves in Uran are under threat from projects by the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) and Cidco. Mangroves act as holding points for excess water and control flooding.

A senior Cidco official said, “Currently, this road witnesses a lot of traffic, especially along the JNPT Port Road and in Dronagiri. To ease this, we have proposed this bypass across 1.5 acre (0.6266 hectares), which will have two bridges connecting the creeks. We have received permission from the state. Once we get Centre’s clearance, we will initiate mangrove afforestation on Cidco land, and begin construction.” Local residents said Cidco did not consult them before applying for permissions.

“This is a direct violation of Article 21 of the Constitution as these creeks, handed over to us by the state are a major source of our fish,” said Tukaram Koli, Uran resident.

Another resident, Dilip Koli, said the debris from the construction will fill up the area. “When we met Cidco officers, they told us there is no need for such wetland areas as the sea is close by.”

First Published: Aug 18, 2018 05:40 IST