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Builders’ body urges govt to issue final notification on ESZ around Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary in MMR

The developers’ body said that making it mandatory to seek construction permission from the National Board of Wildlife may impact over 500 projects worth Rs 5 lakh crore

Real estate developers from Maharashtra have urged the state and Central governments to intervene and take steps to issue a final notification of eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) around the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary to enable continuity of existing construction activity in Mumbai, Thane, MIDC, Navi Mumbai and Raigad area.

The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) had recently issued a notification making it mandatory for real estate developers with projects within a 10 km radius from the boundaries of the eco-sensitive Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary to seek construction permission from the National Board of Wildlife.

CREDAI MCHI (Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry) claims that delay in issuing the new notification could impact over 500 projects worth Rs 5 lakh crore and lead to potential loss of livelihood for over 5 lakh construction workers, with many developers now not expected to receive their commencement certificates for undertaking construction activities in a timely manner under the revised norms.

With over 15 wards covered in the 10 km buffer zone in Mumbai, projects in key infrastructural development areas including Mulund, Chembur, Andheri- East, Bandra- East, Parel, Matunga, among others, are bound to face issues in facilitating construction activities.

After subdued few months post the non-extension of stamp duty rebate, CREDAI MCHI believes this move comes as a huge blow to the entire developer fraternity.

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“BMC’s acknowledgement on the notification by environment ministry to put a 10 km buffer around Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary impacting all construction activities is a huge setback to the already struggling MMR real estate and infrastructure industry post non-extension of stamp duty rebate,” said Deepak Goradia, president, CREDAI MCHI.

“This will adversely impact multiple residential projects not only in BMC area but also in other areas of MMR. We also believe this move will negatively affect the entire ecosystem as well as Maharashtra’s economy owing to the industry’s strong multiplier effect. We request the state and Central governments to come forward and take the necessary action with regards to this notification and ensure a conducive building environment for developers,” he said.

CREDAI MCHI is a real estate body with over 1800 member developers.

To preserve the flora and fauna of the region, the Supreme Court in 2018 had said that a 10-km buffer zone around 21 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries situated in eight states as eco-sensitive zones be applicable where the state has not decided eco-sensitive boundaries.

The Central government in its earlier guidelines for declaration of eco-sensitive zones around 662 protected flora and fauna zones, had also fixed 10 km as the general norm for determining such zones.

But state governments had opposed as this formula covered several urban habitations situated close to the national parks and sanctuaries.

In March 2020, the Maharashtra government had finalised the eco-sensitive boundaries to 3.89km and sent the proposal file to Delhi. The Union environment ministry called for objections and suggestions and the 60-day period got over in June. The final notification from the Centre is still awaited.

The sanctuary is spread across 1,690.5 hectares (ha) across Mulund, Vikhroli, Bhandup, Kanjur and parts of Mandale village and is home to a variety of mangrove species, birds including flamingos, fish and insect species.
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