Hon’ble Mukhya Mantri ji,
As an environment lover, please recall that late Shri Balasaheb Thackeray had ordered the banning of quarrying of Parsik Hills as the blasting was playing havoc with the environment. The blasting of the hills was resumed later but stopped after the Forest Department pointed out that the quarry operators violated the licensed levels by mining 264.1 hectares against the permitted area of 138.07 hectares. (DEIAA report attached)
We woke up this morning to this shocking report in Saamana that Thane Guardian Minister Eknath Shinde announced that quarrying of Parsik Hills in the heart of Navi Mumbai will be resumed.
Shinde assured a delegation of local quarry operators that the quarrying, halted five years ago, would be re-started to help settle the Navi Mumbai Project Affected People and float 40,000 jobs.
This is a terrible idea, to say the least, in these times of the pandemic - from both public health and ecological points.
We would also like to bring to your notice the ongoing quarrying at Kharghar which is adding to the pollution, apart from playing with biodiversity.
There are scores of social welfare schemes under which the PAPs can be settled and we do not have to continue to blast the already plundered hills.
It was not for nothing that the Pune Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) made environment clearance a pre-requisite for resumption quarrying.
The Forest and Environment Departments, apart from Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation, opposed the quarrying, Kumar recalled.
We are not opposed to either development or settling the people affected by the 50-year-old Navi Mumbai project.
The government and its ministers must give paramount importance to public health particularly in these days of COVID havoc.
We suggest an alternative to blasting hills in the city for stone chips.
The government could encourage quarrying on cooperative basis – on the lines of milk cooperatives - in other parts of the State which are not inhabited, and thus offer gainful employment to the project affected families,
Sir, we request you to intervene and ensure that the Parsik Hill range is not blasted again and again. Some of the hills have been blasted to the extent of 70 to 80% due to the greed of some of the operators.
CIDCO is also constructing affordable housing in the foot of the quarried hills. While this project is also patently wrong as it could face dangers of landslides. these housing colonies would be directly impacted by the quarrying.
As regards Kharghar quarrying, the authorities remained unconcerned about the dangers of quarrying in the node despite a series of complaints. The officials are just passing the buck as the citizens suffer.
We wonder as to how on earth any government could allow quarrying amid residential areas. It beats common sense.
No one seems to be concerned about public health and environment.”
Several stake holders such as Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) had opposed the resumption of Parsik Hill quarrying as it would lead to rise in the levels of air pollution. In fact, then NMMC Commissioner Dr N Ramasamy had said the civic body filed an affidavit at the NGT opposing the Parsik Hill quarrying. Dr Ramaswamy had even proposed an environment project by rejuvenating the quarried hills.
In view of these, we request you abandon all plans to restart Parsik Hill quarrying and blasting in Kharghar and save environment and people’s health.
Thanks and regards.
Thanks and regards.
B N Kumar
Editor & Director - NatConnect Foundation