State had earlier ignored the presence of a bird sanctuary near airport
The Maharashtra wildlife board on Thursday recommended the Navi Mumbai airport project to the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) for clearance. Chaired by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, the board’s seventh meeting saw its most high profile project cleared with a few conditions imposed, ostensibly for dealing with the likely problem of bird hits. Clearance from the wildlife board became necessary because the Karnala bird sanctuary is within 10 km of the proposed airport site. “The board recommended the airport project with stringent conditions to prevent adverse impact on wildlife in protected areas located in its vicinity, particularly the Karnala bird sanctuary,” said Maharashtra’s principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), S W H Naqwi.
He informed that the following conditions had been imposed while giving the go ahead:
The move follows close on the heels of an activist protesting against the shortcomings in the ongoing avian fauna studies around the airport site, reported by Down To Earth. The study is being conducted by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) for preventing the likely problem of bird hits.
Reacting to the state wildlife board’s move, activist Debi Goenka said that he was disappointed that no action is being taken against officials who had suppressed information relating to the presence of the bird sanctuary earlier. He said that CIDCO and forest department officials should be held answerable by the chief minister. “That such mistakes can go on with projects of national prestige is shocking and shows lack of seriousness on part of the administration,” he said.
Principal Investigator of the avian fauna studies and director of the BNHS, Asad Rahmani, rubbished the concerns about bird hits. “The studies will be conducted over a period of three years and conclude with detailed recommendations for preventing bird hits,” he said. CIDCO’s official spokesperson remained unavailable for comment on the story.
In another development, the state wildlife board recommended that three wetlands be nominated for recognition as Ramsar sites from Maharashtra. “Jayakwadi, Lonar and Nandur Madhmeshwar have been recommended to the Union environment ministry, but decisions to recommend Sewri creek and Ujni wetland have been deferred because some members sought additional information concerning them. They will be taken up in the next meeting of the board,” said Naqwi.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.