Despite objections, the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) included a plan to create a 145 hectare central garden similar to Hyde Park in London, near Haji Bunder in south Mumbai, reclaiming 93 ha, in its revised plan. of redevelopment of the eastern seafront submitted to the government of Maharashtra. Town planners and activists continue to oppose the plan to reclaim space to create a garden.
The Port Trust published its first draft for the eastern waterfront in December 2018. However, the plan received a lot of criticism from citizens who submitted 920 objections. The trust submitted a revised plan to the Planning Authority on January 31.
The MbPT has been given the green light for the garden plan for the Central Water and Power Research Station (CWPRS), Pune. In its report, MbPT said, “The 145-hectare garden will be the largest urban park on Mumbai’s waterfront. The CWPRS has certified that reclamation in this form will have minimal effect on MbPT’s riparian facilities. “
The CWPRS is a central government agency that reviews research and development needs and projects in water transport, water resources and energy.
AA Purohit of the CWPRS, who conducted the study, said he would not be able to comment on the research unless the director gave permission to do so.
“We are in the process of writing an environmental impact assessment report. However, the institute has certified that there will be minimal effect. Either way, we’re only talking about providing large-scale open space through reclamation, which is subject to environmental clearance, ”said a senior MbPT official.
MbPT has compiled a list of 31 attractions that will be part of the large central garden. It includes an urban forest park, an amusement park, a spiral tower viewpoint, a bandstand, a war memorial plaza, a play and adventure zone, and a health trail, among others. . The trust has also proposed a flamingo park on 4 ha of land in Sewri to ensure the conservation of mangroves and flamingo habitat.
Gautam Kirtane, an urban expert based in Mumbai, said: “We need to stop dealing with the rehabilitation. The intertidal zones are the most important and productive areas for the sea. If they are recovered, we will effectively kill the sea. ”
Pankaj Joshi of the Urban Design Research Institute said MbPT must review an environmental assessment to determine the effect of the reclamation. “It’s not as if any reclamation is bad, but it is very important to examine its effects scientifically.”
Zoru Bhathena, environmental activist, said: “Salvage is allowed for a project when the authority has no choice but to salvage. Does the port trust say that the city can only have a garden by reclaiming itself? It is completely absurd.