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Bombay HC seeks Dharavi redevelopment authority’s reply to PIL for removal of Mahim Nature Park from project area

The Adani Group last Tuesday won the bid for the much-awaited Dharavi Redevelopment Project. The makeover of Asia’s biggest slum cluster will be undertaken by Adani Realty, the real estate wing of Adani Group.

Bombay High Court. (File)

The Bombay High Court Monday asked the Dharavi redevelopment project authority if the area covered under Mahim Nature Park, which is a protected forest, will be included in the slum redevelopment project.

The Adani Group last Tuesday won the bid for the much-awaited Dharavi Redevelopment Project. The makeover of Asia’s biggest slum cluster will be undertaken by Adani Realty, the real estate wing of Adani Group.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Abhay Ahuja was hearing a PIL by NGO Vanashakti and environmental activist Zoru Bhathena filed through advocate VG Shreeram that sought direction from the Court to the authorities to not include the area covered under the Mahim Nature Park for the project.

The NGO claimed that the area concerned was “erroneously and unlawfully” included in the area covered under the redevelopment project. It claimed that the tender dated October 1 clearly shows that Mahim Nature Park is inside the outer boundary of Sector-5 of Dharavi notified area and has been misleadingly marked as an ‘excluded area’ by the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA).

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It claimed that the SRA has marked the area concerned as ‘recreational open space’ under its existing land use plan, whereas it is a protected forest under Indian Forest Act, 1927.

The PIL claimed that the project would unlawfully allow project proponents to acquire or develop the Mahim Nature Park in contravention of its status as a protected area.

As per the plea, the petitioners wrote to the project authority seeking clarification on whether the park was included within Dharavi notified area.

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“The Mahim Nature Park, being a protected forest, should have never been included within the boundary of Dharavi Redevelopment Project and should be entirely deleted from the project documents,” the plea claimed.

Senior advocate Milind Sathe for the Dharavi Redevelopment Project under SRA responded in the negative and said that the authority had clarified to the petitioner that the Nature Park was not included in the redevelopment project. The Bench also sought the Authority’s response as to whether the park area would continue to be under the provisions of the tender document that deals with the rights of special purpose vehicles (SPVs) over excluded areas.

The Bench asked the Authority to put the same before it through an affidavit and posted further hearing to January 2.

First published on: 05-12-2022 at 15:09 IST
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