Green activists from the city and citizens formed a human chain against the auction of the CRZ-1A plot in Nerul on Sunday. A large number of citizens participated in the protest at the same plot near the NRI complex in Nerul that was put for auction.
Soon after the city planner, CIDCO put up an advertisement to auction 16 plots across five nodes of the city including a 25,138.86 sqm plot adjoining the NRI complex in sectors 54, 56, and 58 Nerul that fall partially under the CRZ-1A and CRZ-II and the groups of environment lovers are against the proposal to sell or auction the plots.
Citizens created a WhatsApp group – Save Flamingos/Mangroves – they staged a protest by holding placards and raised pro-environment slogans.
CIDCO floated a tender to auction off 16 plots across five nodes including a 25,138.86 sqm plot adjoining the NRI complex in sectors 54, 56, and 58 Nerul. The base price of the said plot is Rs 1,36,627 per sqm and it is likely to fetch around Rs 350 crores. However, the plot partly falls under the CRZ-1A and CRZ-II and the groups of environment lovers are against the proposal to sell or auction the plots. They claim that this will harm the environment and mangroves.
Rekha Sankhala, a resident of NRI Seawoods, said the people from the housing complex and neighbourhood poured into the disputed plot to express their anger against CIDCO’s move to destroy mangroves.
CIDCO advertised the plot covered by CRZ 1 and CRZ 2 zones and the tender closes on August 3.
On a complaint by NatConnect Foundation Director B N Kumar, the Chief Minister has already asked the Urban Development and Environment departments to look into the issue. Kumar said he would now -with the government through various channels.
CIDCO, when it started the development of Navi Mumbai 1970, had a good environmental policy to reserve at least 40% as open spaces. But now that policy has been given a go-by and the planning agency is hell-bent on destroying mangroves and wetlands under the guise of development, Kumar regretted.
The plot enjoys an FSI of 1.5 and theoretically speaking it could fetch up to Rs 750 crores, going by the recent bids for plots at Ghansoli. A developer bid Rs 3,06,000 per sq mtr for a plot size of 13,512.6 sq mtr at Sector-11 making CIDCO richer by Rs 413,4 crores.
The Nerul plot, with its prime location, could fetch even more. It is adjoining the NRI Seawoods and is ahead of the hovercraft jetty. The flamingo zones such as the DPS Lake, NRI and TS Chanakya wetlands are in the vicinity.
Jayant Huddar of NGO Green Hope said the identity of Navi Mumbai as Flamingo City will be at stake if CIDCO goes on destroying mangroves and wetlands. He appealed to CIDCO not to sell such open spaces but preserve them.
“If CIDCO is committed to sustainable development, it should ensure that life continues in the city,” said Anjali Agrawal who initiated the protest rally along with other NRI-Seawoods residents such as Rekha, R K Narayan, Jaspreet Singh, Anupama Verma, Ritu Mittal and Virendra Kumar Gandhi.
Sudha Punshi, wife of late Vinod Kumar Punshi who fought and won a case in Bombay High Court against CIDCO move to convert NRI wetlands into a golf course, said Navi Mumbai will face massive floods like Chennai did few years ago. She reminded CIDCO that mangroves protect our coasts and they should be conserved.