Mumbai

Infrastructure projects in Aarey could pose flood threat to Mithi

The new development plan leaves only 800 hectares of Aarey as ‘Green Zone’

The new development plan leaves only 800 hectares of Aarey as ‘Green Zone’   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

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A study conducted by researchers at the Kamala Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture and Environmental Studies (KRVIA) has said that the spate of infrastructure developments planned at Aarey Milk Colony will pose a threat of flooding in downstream areas of the Mithi river.

The study conducted over six months looked at the geo-spatial transformations that have taken place since its inception and how the proposed projects and changes in the land usage will affect the region and the city at large. Hussain Indorewala, Assistant professor at KRVIA and part of the team that conducted the study, said that during the debates around tree cutting at Aarey for a Metro car depot, there was a need to look at all the projects that were planned in the colony and its impact holistically. “The consequences of the newly proposed projects on the catchment areas of Mithi, an area where the streams that feed the river originate, is likely to exacerbate the risk of floods in downstream areas during and after construction of these projects,” the report said.

“Forested areas on an average enable 30-35% percolation of rainwater. With the slew of projects that are coming up there is a greater risk of storm water running off and affecting areas along the Mithi river, but further south. It will also lead to a depletion of groundwater in Aarey,” Mr. Indorewala said.

Crucially the report also states that the under the latest development plan, only 800 hectares of the original 1,300 hectares will remain as a ‘Green Zone’ and not a No Development Zone (NDZ). The key difference is that in the former construction approved by the State government and the Ministry of Environment and Forest may be permitted. “This effectively leaves the door open for other unanticipated projects in the future, which will lead to the further shrinking of Aarey in an ad hoc and unplanned manner,” the report states.

Mr. Indorewala also pointed out that the proposed zoo and slum rehabilitation and the Metro car shed follow a long list of other developments that have taken place on the fringes of Aarey that have been cutting it off from the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. “The developments along the periphery will lead to a loss of contiguity with SGNP, which will then put pressure on the national park, which has until now largely been shielded from urban development,” Mr. Indorewala said.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 8:03:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/infrastructure-projects-in-aarey-could-pose-flood-threat-to-mithi/article29995635.ece

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