Navi Mumbai airport falls in 10-km eco-sensitive zone
The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport has incorrect information, the state forest department has discovered.
The EIA report, submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) in July 2010, stated that the proposed airport did not fall within the 10 km buffer zone of the Karnala Bird sanctuary. However, when the state forest department used the global positioning system to check the distance, it found that the proposed airport was well within that buffer zone.
Last week, the department wrote to the MoEF stating that the proposed airport fell within the 10-km eco-sensitive zone around the Karnala Bird Sanctuary.
Environmentalist Debi Goenka, too, had sent a complaint letter to the MoEF last week.
The EIA report submitted by the City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco), the nodal agency for the airport, said the airport fell at a distance of 12.5 km from the sanctuary requiring, under Supreme Court orders, clearance from the National Board for Wildlife. “We have found that the airport falls within the sanctuary’s buffer zone and have written to the environment ministry. A separate clearance will now have to be sought from the wildlife board,” said Anwar Ahmed, deputy conservator of forest, Alibaug division.
The EIA Notification, 2006, states that ‘deliberate concealment and/or submission of false and misleading data which is material to screening and scoping, shall make the application liable for rejection’.
Cidco officials were unavailable for comment. TC Benjamin, principal secretary, urban development department, was unaware of the issue, but said, “The proposed airport will take care of the noise arising from take-offs and landings. An avi-fauna study is also being carried out by the Bombay Natural History Society.”