Parsik Hill Slope Cutting: Builder Found Guilty


The HRC had intervened taking a Suo Motu note of media reports based on environmental groups complaints
NAVI MUMBAI: Vindicating the environmentalists’ complaints, city planner CIDCO has served notice on a realty developer for ‘violating’ the conditions for maintenance and plantation of the Parsik Hill slope and using the area for advertising, the Maharashtra Human Rights Commission (HRC) was told.
The HRC had intervened taking a Suo Motu note of media reports based on environmental groups complaints that the so-called plantation by destroying the existing greenery and digging along the slope endangered the lives of the people living on top of the Parsik Hill.
Responding to the Commission’s summons, CIDCO affidavit, signed by Town Service Manager Deepak K Jogi, detailed the leave and license arrangement with Bhumiraj Builders Private Limited and said that a joint inspection by the planning agency and other government bodies found violations by the developer.
Jogi’s affidavit mentioned that the builder violated the agreement by “illegally” constructing a PCC pathway, a concrete platform of 4 mtrx4 mtr for erecting an advertisement hoarding without permission.
CIDCO, therefore, served the notice on the builder on January 5 asking him to remove all the construction within 15 days or face legal action, another documents produced by CIDCO at HRC showed.
The HRC, headed by justice K K Tated and justice M A Sayeed as member, asked CIDCO lawyer to file an additional affidavit detailing the action taken.
When the advocate mentioned that the lease fee would also be forfeited, Justice Tated wondered if the builder was doing some charity for CIDCO to allot such a huge plot at an annual fee of Rs 100.
The agreement shows that CIDCO admitted in its affidavit that the lease for a allotted over 26,800 sq mtr area of the hill slope at a total annual fee of Rs 100.
Earlier, speaking on behalf of NatConnect Foundation and Parsik Greens, activist Vishnu Joshi pointed out to the Commission that the so-called inspection report missed out on the details of violations on the slope as listed by Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) Belapur Ward Officer Dr Mitali Sancheti. The civic officer inspected the site following an RTI application filed by NatConnect director B N Kumar seeking details of the nature of the work on the slope.
NatConnect has also complained to the Chief Minister who in turn asked the Forest department to look into the issue.
In response to another RTI application, the State Environment Department has confirmed that it has not given any clearance for digging the hill slope, Kumar said.
Taking cognisance of media reports with all these aspects, the HRC served notices on CIDCO, NMMC, The Police Commissioner, the Environment and Forest Departments. The police conducted its investigation and submitted a report.
Parsik Hill Residents Association president Jayant Thakur told the Commission that CIDCO allotted 200 plots on the Hill and over 100 of which are now occupied. He asked: “Where will we go if Joshimath type landslides occur with the kind of slope cutting that we have seen?”
The activists thanked the Commission for taking note of the genuine concerns and pointed out that the violations took place in broad daylight, that too right under the CIDCO’s nose. The planner’s headquarters is a stone’s throw from the Parsik Hill slope.
Moreover, the slope is adjacent to the plot which is under construction by the same builder, CIDCO affidavit admitted.