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Environment concerns ignored as CIDCO’s much awaited mangrove wetland center on palm beach road yet to take off

CIDCO’s ambitious mangrove wetland centre seems to be biting the dust now. It was in the year 2008 that the mou on the centre was signed between CIDCO and conservation action trust. However when the scams during the former md gill’s tenure were exposed and all decisions taken by him in the last six months were stayed, the mangrove wetland center too was put on hold. Cat activist debi goenka says that unless a new md is appointed, there is no hope of the project taking off anytime soon.

With land mafia grabbing the mangrove stretch on palm beach road for commercial exploitation, a mou was signed between CIDCO and conservation action trust to develop the mangrove stretch on the palm beach road into a mangrove wetland center. The mou was signed in the presence of chief minister vilasrao deshmukh in mantralya in the year 2008. NMTV News had first aired the report on how land mafia was eying the luscious green mangrove belt of palm beach road and attempting to commercially exploit it. We had met debi goenka – member of conservation action trust on the subject in december 2005 and submitted visuals of how mangroves in the stretch were being burnt and chemically killed. Cat had filed a case in Mumbai high court. Responding to this pil filed by the Bombay environmental action group in the year 2005, the high court directed the state to declare coastal areas as mangrove area and reserve it. Later a mapping exercise was carried out in Navi Mumbai and over 3000 hectares was notified as mangrove land. 2500 of this hectare of the land was decided to be developed into a mangrove wetland center in a joint venture of the state forest department, CIDCO and conservation action trust. The trio had signed a mou to built the mangrove wetland center in mantralaya in the presence of chief minister vilasrao deshmukh, state forest minister babarao pachpute, CIDCO chairman nakul patil, former CIDCO md g s gill, former CIDCO jt. Md deepak kapoor and cat member debi goenka. However, it’s been four years now to the signing of the mou and the project is still biting the dust. Member of cat debi goenka informed that the mangrove wetland centre was one of is one of the projects which have come under scrutiny among the scores of land allotments done during the tenure of former CIDCO md g s gill. After gill retired, allegations of scams to the tune of thousands of scores had rocked the state assembly following which land allotments done during last six months of his tenure were stayed by chief minister prithviraj chavan and an enquiry has been ordered on these allotments. Unfortunately, even the mangrove wetland center has been stalled for the same reason. Cat activist and environmentalist debi goenka informed about the delay in the project. He said that until a md is appointed at CIDCO, there is no hope of the mangrove center coming in Navi Mumbai anytime soon.

He said as of today CIDCO’s main issue is that there is no one person that is in charge of the affairs of CIDCO anymore. It’s unfortunate that due to the scams that haunts and plagues CIDCO ever since it came into existence, environment concerns are being ignored as the much awaited and much hyped mangrove wetland center has failed to take off. With bureau inputs, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.

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