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Environmentalists oppose road project through national park

The various infrastructure projects which are currently being developed in Mumbai will rob off the city’s green cover. The manner in which city is expanding there will be scarcity of open spaces in the metropolis. Environmentalists are already worried about the dwindling forest cover of the city which is necessary to maintain greenery and control temperatures. Already 13 per cent trees have been chopped off for the Metro-3 project. Of the 1,074 trees that will be cut to make way for the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ metro project, 136 have already been cut so far. But, not a single tree has been transplanted or replaced. The Maharashtra (Urban Areas) and Preservation of Trees Act, 1975, says three new saplings must be planted within 30 days of a tree being cut, or the tree can be transplanted in another spot. Environmentalists are already fighting to save the city’s forest cover.

The Thane municipal corporation has planned to construct a 14 km long road adjoining Yeoor forest which will connect Mulund with Gaimukh. The road will link the northernmost tip of Mulund at Shrinagar off the LBS Road with Gaimukh, on the outskirts of Thane on Ghodbunder Road and is expected to cost Rs 800 crore. Thus after Thane-Borivali ropeway and Goregaon Mulund link road this project too will intrude the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and affect the environment. A 407 metre long tunnel too will be constructed near the Upwan lake. Environmentalists have expressed their displeasure and are planning to wage a battle to save green spaces in the city.

Environmentalist, Vidyadhar Walavalkar has criticised the civic body’s proposal to construct the road project as it will severely impact the ecological balance of the city.

He said, “Several trees will have to be cut to make for the project as it will affect the environment. When two projects have been sanctioned via Sanjay Gandhi National Park there was no need to plan another one. It will definitely rob off the city’s green space.”

Thane municipal commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal said, “We have been asked to seek approval from the forest and environmental department. The minister has promised to offer us financial assistance. Thane Municipal corporation has been asked to prepare a feasibility report of the project. A detailed presentation of the project was made to Union minister of surface transport Nitin Gadkari.”

Sanjay Gandhi National Park is known is one of the biggest green cover of the city and is spread at an area of 103 square kilometres. Mumbai is one of the few cities in the world which is known for having a forest area within the city limits. However proposed ropeway project, underground tunnel and the new road will definitely cause severe damage to the city’s environment. Even though citizens want better transportation system in the city but it should not come at cost of affecting the environment.

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