Few days after Prime minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the Navi Mumbai International airport, The Bombay high court was presented with a public litigation that claimed that conditions made for the project had not yet been met.
The Union civil aviation ministry, CIDCO, and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board were issued a notice by a division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Pradeep Deshmukh. They were asked to respond to the PIL filed by NGO Vanashakti and its director Dayanand Stalin. The petition vigorously pushed for the work on the airport to be stopped as the conditions laid down were not met. One of these conditions were setting up a 615-hectare mangrove sanctuary park.
“The authorities were to compensate for the loss of mangrove forest by declaring the area bordering the proposed airport as mangrove sanctuary. This condition has been modified arbitrarily to replace the proposed 615-hectare mangrove park with a Thane creek flamingo habitat. This is in direct violation of the conditions of environmental clearance,” the petition claimed.
One other condition was an alternative site for migratory birds that was supposed to be developed in Sewri coastal wetland which too had not been complied with.
Also, the petition claimed that without following the environmental rules, the workers proceeded with the blasting of 92mm of hill area in Ulwe.
The plan also failed to notify the area between Karnala Sanctuary and the proposed airport as even a proper sanctuary was not made.
“Around 250 hectares of forest land has been handed over to Cidco for airport project. Of this, 141 hectares is reserved forest and 108 hectares is covered by mangroves. The removal of forest for the project will cause soil erosion and take away the cushion created by the mangroves. The change in the landscape will not only affect the ecology of the site, but also the adjoining areas,” the PIL said.
As of now, the court has scheduled the PIL for hearing on March 28.