NGO raises fresh concerns over Parsik Hills quarrying

NGO raises fresh concerns over Parsik Hills quarrying

NGO raises fresh concerns over Parsik Hills quarrying

An NGO has raised fresh concerns with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis over the quarrying of Parsik Hills in Navi Mumbai as a quarry operator has obtained environment clearance for blasting at Borivali village in MIDC area.

The Thane District level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (DEIAA) has given clearance to a private company to operate the quarry with a host of conditions such as prevention of dust pollution and development of green belt.

The NGO,  Shri Ekavira Aai Pratishthan (SEAP), has appealed to the chief minister to intervene and ensure that the Parsik Hill range, which has been plundered recklessly, should be protected from further quarrying to protect the health of the people living in the vicinity and prevent damage to ecological balance.

The private operator is all set to start quarrying in an area where a small hill has nearly disappeared due to continuous blasting, Nandakumar Pawar, director of SEAP said in his e-mail to Fadnavis.

He said his NGO is not the against development of infrastructure,  but that it should not lead to the destruction of nature.

Meanwhile, as part of its social communication campaign, Public Relations Council of India (PRCI)  - a communication professionals body  - has launched a drive called #HillGayaKalGaya (No hills, no tomorrow) to mobilise support for protecting the environment.

"This is in continuation of our previous campaign #IamParsikHill-IamDying," said PRCI governing council chairman B N Kumar.

"The reckless blasting of the hills is not only endangering the ecological balance but is making people fall sick as the dust and particles from the quarries is 100 times the permissible levels," he said.

Pawar said in his letter that following a PIL, the NGT has ruled on November 14, 2017, that no quarrying is to take place on Parsik Hills unless the Environment Clearance is obtained.

Subsequently, the District Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (DEIAA), Thane, met on February 02, 2018 and discussed in detail the situation of 74 quarry sites at Kukshet, Shivawane, Pawane, Bonsari, Turbhe and Borivali  - all along the Parsik Hill range, Navi Mumbai.

During the meeting, the deputy conservator of forests has raised an objection to the violation of quarrying limits in the CIDCO area, where 264.1 hectares has been mined against the permissible area of 138.07 hectares.

The authority, therefore, ordered a detailed survey of these areas jointly by the Forest department and CIDCO.

It is in this context, Pawar said, that the permission granted to one operator  - who incidentally is not a project affected person  - has to be viewed.

This company has obtained a renewal of quarry license from MIDC up to 2027 for two hectares.

The DEIAA permission came with conditions that included installation of open-air quality monitor, transportation by covered trucks, occupational health surveillance programme and conducting of lung function tests of workers.

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