Mumbai Keen to get clearance for the Navi Mumbai airport, the state plans to replant around 350 hectares of mangroves in Dahanu, 200 km from the site. The Centre will be informed of the decision following a public hearing in the next 15 days.
The state has appointed the Gujarat Ecology Commission, an expert in mangrove replanting. “The mangroves will be compensated from Navi Mumbai to Dahanu and we hope the central environmental committee accepts this,” said Minister of State for Environment Sachin Ahir.
Mumbai University has been appointed to study the 10-km creek surrounding the mangroves and the airport site. Lewis Environmental Services of the US and DHI of Denmark, along with Central Water and Power Research Station (CWPRS), Pune, will study the diversion of Gadhi and Ulwe rivers. The government, along with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), will conduct a public hearing on May 5 following which the report will be submitted for clearance.
Ahir said the project does not face environment hurdles and the government is keen on completing the first phase by December 2013. “We have also prepared an action plan for the eight most polluted centres in Navi Mumbai,” he said. A central committee had found high levels of pollution and said no project could come up for eight months.
Rishi Agarwal of the Mangrove Society of India said replanting mangroves is not an option. “Panvel will lose the rich cover of mangrove and since Dahanu is 200 km away, the impact of the plantation will be hardly felt.”
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