The Union Environment Ministry has notified as Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ) the area around Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai, a move aimed at avoiding man-animal conflict and regulating development.
Noting that development and environment “go hand in hand”, Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave said that the minimum extent of ESZ is 100 meters from the park boundary and a maximum up to four kilometres.
Dave said that earlier, construction of any kind was not allowed within 10 kilometres from the boundary.
“After completing all processes, the final notification has been done. Now from its boundary, 100 metres to up to 4 km, we have marked it.
“The extent (of ESZ) varies at different places taking into consideration its geographical area. No construction will take place in this (ESZ) area. We are informing this to the state government as well,” Dave told reporters.
He said the park is situated in the middle of the city and perhaps it is the only one in the world where a national park is situated in the middle of the city. He said that because of this, man animal conflict also arises.
In order to conserve and protect the unique habitat in and around the park, a draft notification was published in January this year. The Ministry had received a large number of responses from various stakeholders on the draft.
An area of 1.65 sq km land for the Mumbai Metro Rail Shed of Mumbai Metro Rail corporation, temple, etc has been excluded in the final notification which was issued under the provision of Environment Protection Act 1986.
The final notification has been issued on December 5, 2016 for an ESZ area of 59.46 sq km of which 19.25 sq km is forestland and 40.21 sq km is non forestland,” the Ministry said.
“We also want to stress that development and environment go together. While we are protecting the park and its biodiversity, at the same time, we are also thinking about the development of the city,” Dave said.
The Minister said that the Ministry also wants to put an end to the philosophy of man-animal conflict and underline the fact that man and animal can co-exist.
While the Ministry is protecting the park and environment, it is also keeping in mind the aspect of development of the city particularly the public utilities like public transport, etc, he said.