Mahim Nature Park cannot be exploited for development: Bombay HC

MNP was declared as a protected forest in 1991

Mahim Nature Park cannot be exploited for development: Bombay HC

The Maharashtra government has assured the Bombay High Court that the Mahim Nature Park (MNP) will not be included in the Dharavi Redevelopment Plan (DRP). The HC observed that the park cannot be exploited in the name of development so long as it is reserved as a "Nature Park" in the Development Plan.

A division bench headed by Acting Chief Justice (ACJ) SV Gangapurwala said: "So long as the Development Plan shows it as a Nature Park, no other activity can be carried out." 

Following the Deputy Collector and Special Land Acquisition officer of the DRP with the Slum Redevelopment Authority (SRA) clarified that the MNP has been excluded from the DRP, the bench disposed of a public interest litigation (PIL) that was filed by NGO Vanashakti and activist Zoru Bhathena.

Disposing of the PIL, the HC noted: “The affidavit specifically and succinctly states that Mahim Nature Park (MNP) is excluded from the DRP and same is not going to be developed under the project. MNP is shown as reserved for the Nature park in the Development Plan and there cannot be any other usage so long as the development plan stands. The same certainly cannot be developed for any other purposes" the court said in its order.” 

Asia's biggest slum, Dharavi’s redevelopment has been under consideration for over three decades. However, very recently the Adani Group bagged the Rs 5,069 crore bid for redevelopment. 

The PIL stated that MNP, which was declared as a protected forest in 1991, may be unlawfully included in the DRP. The petitioners expressed concern, pointing out that the October 2022 tender grants the right to acquire “excluded areas” (including MNP) for the project.

In the previous hearing, the high court had directed the SRA to clarify if MNP will be part of the project or not.

“Mahim Nature Park has already been excluded from the DRP and further that the Mahim Nature Park is not a part of the DRP”, read the affidavit filed by Pratibha Ingle, deputy collector and special land acquisition officer for the DRP with the SRA. 

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