This paves the way for 400 pending proposals, including the bullet train project, to be taken up by the MCZMA soon.
Nearly 400 proposals that have been awaiting a nod from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) are set to be heard now as the environment ministry has cleared the coastal zone management plans for five districts – Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Raigad, Mumbai City and Suburbs. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had halted the meetings of the MCZMA a year ago for want of these coastal zone management plans.
The hard copies of these plans were received by the state environment department on Tuesday and will be uploaded on the MCZMA website in a day or two. Thereafter, the meetings of MCZMA can commence.
There is a backlog of at least 400 proposals, including 300 government proposals, which the authority will have to take up. It is expected to take at least three months to clear the projects. A special meeting of the MCZMA was held in August for some key government projects, whose meetings will be released only after the plans are in the public domain.
Principal Secretary, environment, Anil Diggikar said, “We have received the plans for five districts. These are being scanned and will be uploaded now. There has been a delay of one year. We will start our meetings soon. There are nearly 400 proposals pending, of which 300 are government proposals. We can discuss 25 to 30 proposals in each meeting and can hold upto four meetings in a month. It will take around three to four months to clear the backlog.”
Diggikar added that the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management has directed Centre for Earth Sciences, Kochi, and Indian Institute of Remote Sensing to finalise the coastal zone plans for Thane and Palghar by October 31. Major projects that come under the purview of coastal regulation zone notification of Environment Protection Act need a clearance from the MCZMA.
Environmentalist D Stalin of NGO Vanshakti said, “The state delayed the payments for the mapping agencies so that constructions could continue in CRZ. Then I approached NGT and got a stay on meetings. The NGT said that in the absence of accurate maps, the meetings of MCZMA were pointless. They stopped the meetings in October last year. The state had also promised NGT that they will not regularise any violations.”
Sources in the state government said that the bullet train is one of the most affected projects for want of a plan for Thane and Palghar districts. Several builders have also approached Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to hold the meetings quickly as their projects were getting delayed.