Environmental activist Stalin Dayanand has written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis seeking that he transfer the land on which the Maharashtra Nature Park stands to the Forest division from the custody of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). He further demanded that all plans to commercialise/ construct/ redevelop the park in Mahim must be shelved. “Enough damage has been done by MMRDA to the forests and wetlands of the state. Your immediate action will prevent needless and avoidable litigation on the issue in future,” he wrote.
The director of projects of the NGO Vanashakti has objected to MMRDA’s proposed development plan of the nature park, saying that as per a GR issued in the year 1991, it is a protected forest.
Further, the Supreme Court had directed the protection of forests in 1997.
“Despite this we fail to understand how MMRDA has proposed development plan on a protected forest. It is completely illegal,” he adds.
The 15-hectare park is located on the south banks of the Mithi river and is home to over 158 varieties of birds, 85 species of butterflies, 30 spider varieties and 32 kinds of reptiles.
The MMRDA has proposed to redevelop it by constructing a pedestrian-cycling bridge from BKC, along with many amenities such as a viewing tower in the centre, a bird walk, a butterfly park, a cafe, a library, an event space, a play area for children along with construction of new office buildings.