Sanjay Gandhi National Park: MSRDC seeks land for road development
The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has asked for 8.8 hectares of forest land from Sanjay Gandhi National Park for a Rs 510 crore road project.
The state road corporation aims to utilise 8.8 hectares of forest land from the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) for the construction of an elevated carriageway along with the Thane-Ghodbunder highway. If this land is allotted, Mumbai's green region could shrink further.
According to the sources, MSRDC is executing a Rs 510 crore project that has reached the Union Environment Ministry to redirect an area of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, as big as Oval Maidan.
According to the activists, SGNP has the world's highest density of leopards which is always under threat.
Ghodbunder is one of the main roadways from Thane, connecting the Eastern Express Highway on one end and the Western Express Highway on the other end. The roadway carries a significant load of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust bound traffic to and from Gujarat. A stretch of the road adjoining the SGNP and the Vasai creek.
MSRDC wants to build a 4.8 km long elevated road to upgrade the Ghodbunder road. For additional area, it requested the government to divert 8.84 hectares of forest land from the project, worrying the activists and environmentalists.
Rohit Joshi, an environmentalist, said that the authorities have arranged multiple projects that menace the leopard movement.
Joshi said that there are enough roads to reach the western end from Thane. There is even an underground road authorised by SGNP. According to him, the road project is unnecessary. Joshi further added that it showed how the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government is serious about protecting their wildlife.
Some activists believe that the government must take an initiative to reduce the impact of infrastructure on SGNP's ecosystem.