Navi Mumbai: NMC Faces Backlash Over Proposed Construction in Waterbody Area, Raising Concerns Among Citizens

After environmentalists and citizen groups raised concerns regarding changes in the final draft development plan (DP) of Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) that will allow construction in the waterbody area, the civic body issued clarification and suggested citizens can raise objections before the state government.

Environmentalists alleged that the revised final draft DP of the NMMC indicates plans for residential towers on wetlands designated in the National Wetlands Inventory and Assessment Atlas, disregarding their protected status as per Supreme Court orders. They claimed that the move will threaten to compromise the city’s future sustainability and liveability.

In the final draft DP, the civic body marked the waterbody area behind T S Chanakya in sector 60 as open for residential/commercial development. The water body is popular for migratory birds and a large number of flamingos arrive from December to May. Residents as well as activists opposed the move and demanded that the ‘flamingo lake’ area should have been reserved as a no-development zone.

Meanwhile, the civic body came up with clarifications on the changes proposed in the final draft DP. According to the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) and the latest nodal map received from CIDCO of sector 60 in Nerul, along with records available from the Forest and Revenue departments, it’s confirmed that the land earmarked for residential purposes is not classified as a wetland. The proposed residential development in this area is a model based on the CIDCO nodal map, ensuring alignment with planned urban expansion.

Similarly, the development has been proposed in the private land of the revenue village of Advali-Bhutavali not on the forest land. Following the establishment of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC), the revenue village of Advali-Bhutavali was incorporated into the municipal area alongside the CIDCO-notified zone. Notably, both this revenue village and the surrounding Forest Department territory were designated as a “Regional Park” under the Regional Plan of the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority.

Given that much of the land in Advali-Bhutavali is under the ownership of the Forest Department, the entirety of the village’s land was classified as a “Regional Park” for numerous years. In the draft development plan, reservations for “Regional Park” were proposed for all lands within the village. However, it’s important to highlight that there is no intention to reserve land owned by the Forest Department, in accordance with directives from both the Central Government and the State Government. In light of this, the planning committee has instructed the exclusion of reservations on Forest Department-owned lands within the village of Advali-Bhutavali. Instead, these lands will be indicated for “forest use” in the development plan.

However, the civic body suggested residents that they can submit suggestions and objections on the changes in the draft development plan. “The proposed changes and development plan were scrutinized by experts from the office of Joint Director, Director and then such a report was submitted to the government. After that at the government level also the Scrutiny Committee under the Chairmanship of the Secretary thoroughly scrutinizes the draft development plan and recommends the approved changes to the Government,” said a senior official from NMMC’s Town Planning.

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