The 12.78 hectares of mangrove forests would be diverted, according to the regional empowered committee of the Union environment ministry, in order to expand rail services in Mumbai. Over 2,000 mangroves will be cut down as part of the proposal, which has been pending approval for more than a year. The Western Railway will receive a fifth and sixth railway line as part of the initiative to reduce congestion. To safeguard the local wildlife, the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation has been ordered to build animal underpasses. The Bombay High Court and the state coastal zone management authority still need to approve the proposal.
Mumbai: 12.78 hectares of unnotified mangrove forests will be diverted by the regional empowered committee of the Union environment ministry in Nagpur for the extension of train services between Borivali and Virar. The project has been pending the Center’s approval for more than a year and will result in the removal of 2612 trees, including 2092 mangroves.
A fifth and sixth railway line would be added to the Western Railway, which is currently congested, as part of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (Phase III) at an estimated cost of 2,184 crore. A number of animal underpasses are to be built by the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) in collaboration with the state forest department in order to ensure the free movement of animals in the area.
“The proposed project is 16.30 kilometres from Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary, 1.8 km from Sanjay Gandhi National Park, and 2.58 km from the Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary’s boundary. When approving the proposal, the REC noted that Schedule-I creatures such the Indian Chameleon, Cobra, Python, and Russell’s Viper are present. This information was provided by the deputy conservator of forests, Dahanu.
According to the MVRC’s plan, the 12.78 hectares of mangroves are found in the villages of Dahisar (3.68 hectares), Penpada (1.42 hectares), and Umele (7.67 hectares) in Palghar, Thane.
“There are currently five lines running between Mumbai Central and Borivali, and a sixth is being built. There are just four lines that connect Borivali to Virar, therefore if the network is not expanded, the bottleneck effect at Borivali will get worse. We will be able to increase services along the entire length since this would separate suburban and non-suburban services on the western line beyond Borivali and create autonomous slow and rapid corridors between Virar and Churchgate.
Although the MVRC has stated that no such analysis is possible in the given instance due to the “site-specific” nature of this project and that the area sought to be cleared is “bare minimum and unavoidable,” forest clearance applications typically ask project proponents to submit an analysis of alternative alignments for linear intrusions.
Source- hindustan times