July 26, 2017 2:45:56 am
THE CITY and Industrial Development Corridor (CIDCO) plans to cover 615 hectares of land around the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) with mangrove plantation, to make up for the loss of the same during construction of the airport. A mangrove park that utilises additional space outside the airport premises will eventually be a local attraction, officials said.
The CIDCO started work on cutting hills in Ulwe at the site after receiving stage II forest department clearances in April this year. In one of the conditions laid down to receive clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), the CIDCO is required to make up for the loss of mangroves during construction. The cover would make up for the loss of 160 hectares of mangroves in the area, officials said.
“As per the conditions laid down, replacing mangrove cover around the airport is a must. Among the ten villages to be rehabilitated for building the airport, Vaghivali is specifically being shifted for raising the park in its place. The area has a presence of mangrove cover and the park will extend it,” said Bhushan Gagrani, Managing Director, CIDCO. Mangrove plantation has already begun in Kolikhar village near Kamothe. As per plan, 245 hectares, including the village, will be utilised for the park. Officials also plan to build a mangrove interpretation centre on two hectares to attract visitors at the airport to the park.
“We plan to model the same on the lines of the mangrove interpretation centre in Airoli. While an environmental clearance required us to replace the green cover in the area, we wanted to bring value addition to the space around the airport. Not only will we replace the loss of terrestrial trees to three times its population, mangroves of the species lost will be refilled,” said Aparna Vedula, additional chief planner for the project. As many as 35 species of mangroves in the country will be represented through the mangrove plantation in the park. “We will also try to bring species of mangroves in other tropical countries. Care would be taken to ensure they adjust to the city’s micro climate,” Vedula added.
Officials also plan to utilise additional spaces around the airport and also in Alibagh to replace the mangrove cover loss. “The aim is to retain the ecology cover of the area,” a CIDCO official said. Gagrani said the Letter of Intent (LOI) will soon be awarded to GVK for building the airport after the meeting with Project Implementation Monitoring Committee (PMIC) is through next week. “We will bring this up soon for consideration, post which a final nod from the Cabinet will be awaited,” he added. In February, GVK won the bid for building NMIA. The LOI is important for MIAL to hunt financiers for the project.
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