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NGO Vanashakti files a PIL against Navi Mumbai International Airport

A public interest litigation mentioned before the Bombay high court claims that the conditions for starting the project have not been met. A division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Pradeep Deshmukh issued notices to the Union civil aviation ministry, CIDCO, Airports Authority of India and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board asking them to respond to the PIL filed by NGO Vanashakti and its director Dayanand Stalin. The petition has urged the court to stop work on the airport as conditions, including setting up a 615-hectare mangrove sanctuary park, has not been complied with.

“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.

Further, an alternative site for migratory birds was to be developed in the Sewri coastal wetland area, which too hasn’t been done. Also, the plan involving blasting of 92m of the hill area in Ulwe has already begun without adhering to environmental rules, the petition alleged. Other conditions like notifying the area between Karnala Sanctuary and the proposed airport as a sanctuary has also not been done, it claimed.

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. The court scheduled the PIL for hearing on March 28.


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