130 buildings lack CRZ approval in Navi Mumbai

Like the Adarsh Towers, these buildings were built without CRZ clearances

Updated - June 11, 2014 11:00 am IST

Published - June 11, 2014 12:20 am IST - MUMBAI:

Skyline of Navi Mumbai. Photo: Jagatdeep Singh

Skyline of Navi Mumbai. Photo: Jagatdeep Singh

As many as 130 buildings, spread over land worth hundreds of crores in the satellite city of Navi Mumbai, were built without Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances, much like the controversial Adarsh tower in Mumbai. The violations were acknowledged by the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) in response to an RTI query. This means that the buildings, located on prime land, are illegal. Unable to get a clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) during the UPA regime, the NMMC is still struggling to get them regularised. A second proposal sent in 2013, is pending before the Ministry.

“The matter has been referred to a committee appointed by the planning body which developed the plots, the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO),” said NMMC Commissioner A.L. Jarhad.

The Navi Mumbai area located mainly on marshy land, was reclaimed by CIDCO in the 1970s. It got the initial green clearances and handed over portions of the land to NMMC to develop in 1990s.

The 130 buildings in question were built between 2002 and 2011 and fall within the CRZ Zone. However, the NMMC gave them the go-ahead to construct without seeking permission from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA), a clearance which had by then become mandatory. Significantly, the Adarsh tower also came up without this crucial permission and now faces demolition.

In his letter asking the MoEF to regularise the buildings, former NMMC Commissioner Bhaskar Wankhede passed the buck to CIDCO. The letter was retrieved through an RTI query by Debi Goenka from the Conservation Action Trust.

The letter says that since CIDCO undertook the initial planning for the area, “it was believed that requisite permissions under the Environment Protection Act were taken by CIDCO.” As a result, the NMMC “did not and could not insist on clearance from the MCZMA before issuing commencement certificates,” the letter says.

Mr. Wankhede also says that till 2011, the NMMC could not pinpoint the exact plots falling under CRZ, another reason why it did not approach the MCZMA for clearances. Initially CIDCO had provided Coastal Zone maps on a scale of magnification which made them difficult to read, it said.

However, Mr. Goenka dismissed these arguments. “The fact is that there are hundreds of CRZ violations in Navi Mumbai and it has happened with the connivance of the government,” he said.

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