Centre marks buffer zone around Sanjay Gandhi National Park, allows construction work


The Union environment ministry on December 5 issued a notification, demarcating an area upto a radius of 4km around Sanjay Gandhi National Park, (SGNP) Borivli, as a buffer zone, where construction work as per law could be carried out. It has declared the area an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ).

The move has come as a relief to real estate developers and buyers.

Allowing new construction and under construction projects as per provisions of the law up to a radius of four kilometres from the boundary of the park, the notification permits “new construction projects such as the Mumbai Metro rail shed (in Aarey Colony), new civic amenities such as water supply related infrastructure and facilities, and operation and maintenance of infrastructure, civic amenities sanctioned by the concerned local self government under the approved Development Plan under the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, may be permitted within the ESZ, subject to rules and regulations.”

The notification came after responses from various stakeholders at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation, and elected representatives to the draft notification on January 1. The ministry has excluded 65 sq km land for the Metro III car shed and temple in the notification.

“Making special provisions for the Metro III car shed is a mockery of the entire notification, whose intention is to destroy and not protect,” said Stalin D of Vanashakti, an NGO. “It’s an absurd document, made for ecologically sensitive areas where what exists is not allowed, and what is proposed is allowed.”

A total of 41 villages and townships fall under the ESZ that comprises 19.25 sq km forest land and 40.21 sq km non-forest land.