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SPECIAL RELIEF in CRZ 2 Norms for the residents of Kapadia Nagar, Kurla West, Mumbai

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With reference to above, MCZMA has published the draft Coastal Zone Management Plans (CZMPs) No. E43_A16_SW of Mumbai, inviting suggestions / objections from the stakeholders. We the residents of Kapadia Nagar are submitting herewith the details of our property along-with our Suggestions/ Objections which needs to be considered while finalizing the same, which are as under:

 A.    Being aggrieved with the said draft Coastal Zone Management Plans (CZMPs) No. E43_A16_SW of Mumbai, we would like to state that our building/society is one of the 24 buildings/ societies which is situated on the larger land bearing Survey no. 198 (part) corresponding C.T.S Nos. 22, 22/1 to 8, 23/ 1to 3, 24, 24/1 to 2, 25, 25/1 to 6 and 26, situate lying and being at Kurla Village in Greater Mumbai in the Registration sub district of Bandra , District Mumbai admeasuring about 39,349 sq. meters, which is known as “Kapadia Nagar”. The said Kapadia Nagar has 752 flats and shops comprised in the said 24 buildings/societies and in the span of 32 years, the families have increased by two folds and it needs larger space to breathe in. Hypothetically, if given a look on the population of our Kapadia Nagar colony i.e., 752 flat x 5 members/ per flat, which sums upto 3760 members who are suffocating in the crammed condition and anticipating for the want of larger space. Moreover, the said larger chunk of land is lying and situated in the heart of the Mumbai City, which adjoins Bandra - Kurla Complex on the West Side and Santacruz - Chembur Link Road on the north side.

B.      As per the Structural Stability report most of the buildings are in a dilapidated state and it seriously needs Re-development. But, due to the said cap of CRZ 2, no Redevelopment will ever take place as no Builder/ Developer will invest in an unprofitable venture. If at all the said draft Coastal Zone Management Plans (CZMPs) No. E43_A16_SW of Mumbai is implemented, it will be fixed for several years and this will cause great harm and irreparable loss to the residents of Kapadia Nagar and to the future generation, who are waiting for an absolution. Our Mumbai City is on the verge of turning itself into Shanghai City by way of Re-development and implementation of the new plans. By implementing a barrier on the said larger land would severely impact the resident’s adversely and the future generation, as your rules and plans will be land-locked for several years.

C.    It would be pertinent to note that any grant of FSI in the MCGM’s Development Plan 2034 will be futile due to the restrictions of the CRZ 2, the grant of increased FSI shall be futile, however as we have mentioned earlier that our colony/building adjoins Bandra - Kurla Complex and SCLR and in future the development of adjoining parts will be on its peak vertically and horizontally, so the removal of the cap from our tract of land should be considered crucially keeping the future prospects in mind for the betterment of the Mumbai City.

D.    Further we would like to justify for the redevelopment and for higher FSI for the development:

a)   A brief fact of Bandra-Kurla Complex – An Environmental Disaster

i)  Bandra-Kurla Complex was developed by MMRDA in early 90’s as the commercial centre for the growth of corporate offices and commercial activities. BKC has been developed over 730 acres of land including the area that earlier constituted the basin of the Mithi river. The complex was built on mangrove marshes that surround the mouth of the Mithi river near the Mahim bay. Construction rubble from Mumbai was used to fill the marshes and a shiny new business zone rose in almost record time to compete with south Mumbai's Nariman Point. . As a result, the mouth of the Mithi has constricted to a third of its original width. BKC has been built mostly on reclaimed Mithi wetland and by destroying mangrove jungle.

ii) The reclamation of 730 acres of land was done ignoring the recommendations of the K.G. Paranjape Committee of 1987; Dr. Kulkarni Report done for the Central Institute of Fisheries 1992; The Mangrove Committee of 1993 ; NEERI Report 1994 & 96 ; BNHS Report for the MOEF . Warnings against reclamation have been loud, clear and repeated but were ignored and overlooked. Today the complex hosts huge premises spread over lakhs of square feet, which house leading financial institutions like ICICI, IDBI, UTI, Citibank and Shopping malls

iii) It is not a surprise that it has been termed as 'criminal engineering'. The G Block of the complex has directly suppressed Mithi River, changed its course of flow and led to destruction of mangroves. About 250 acres out of the total of 730 acres of wetland with jungle that have been reclaimed fall in the G-Block of the Bandra - Kurla complex. Though this was a blatant violation of CRZ 1991 Notification. The International Finance and Business Centre (IFBC) and surrounding buildings, that form a part of the G-Block of the Bandra - Kurla complex, have been built on the original course of the Mithi River and were part of the inter-tidal zone. IFBC is a house to National Stock Exchange, Financial Institutions and Banks such as ICICI, IL&FS, UTI, NABARD, Laxmi Finance, Dena Bank, State Bank of India, CITI BANK, Bank of Baroda and Bank of India.

iv) In the E-Block of the Bandra - Kurla Complex the M.M.R.D A. (Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority) has built its head office on the course of the Mithi River.

 v) A study by National Environmental Engineering Research Institute in 1996 concluded that MMRDA by developing BKC has put the region's ecological wealth towards the path of irreversible ecological damage and the reclamation of wetlands and mangrove swapms in Mithi river estuary would increase the flooding potential in the region.

vi) While, the MMRDA through Mithi River Development Project Authority has been carrying out reckless demolitions of slums in and around the Kurla area under the pretext of removing encroachments, it itself is single handly responsible for encroaching over Mithi river and destruction of Mangroves spread across hundreds of acres of marshy area. Slums all across the city have been demolished in the name of they being in the areas falling under CRZ area, BKC today stands illegally violating the CRZ notifications and thus exemplifying the two sets of laws, one for the influential and other for the poor.

 vii) Before the concrete construction and development in BKC, the Mahim sea high-tide water used to flow through the mangroves wherein the BKC’s concrete constructions stand now. Due to these constructions (wherein the mangroves have been replaced by BKC) the high-tide water flow, automatically gets directed to our area as our area is low lying. And the reason why Kurla and Kalina was flooded in July 2005 was due to the change in the ground level due to the constructions took place in the Bandra-Kurla Complex.

 b)   A brief fact of BMC approval of the 24 big projects along Mumbai Coast – Second Environmental Disaster

 i) The floodgates have opened up for construction near the city's coastline with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) approving 24 projects near the shoreline around Girgaum Chowpatty, Prabhadevi, Mahim and Shivaji Park over the past one year.

The reason: Mahim coastline and Marine Drive (Backbay) have been officially redefined as "bay areas". A 2011 CRZ amendment by the Union environment ministry said construction activity can be restricted to only 100 metres from a bay instead of 500 metres.

The Mahim shoreline and the entire Backbay area, extending from Nariman Point and Cuffe Parade to Girgaum Chowpatty, have been classified as bay based on a report by the National Hydrographic Institute in Dehradun. The reduction, criticised by environmentalists and activists, was however, upheld by the Supreme Court.

The new definition of bay means developers can now build much more with higher floor space index (FSI). The BMC's development plan department has so far sanctioned seven redevelopment projects in south Mumbai and 17 projects in Mahim and Dadar.

Among the bigger projects now out of CRZ is the Nowroz Building plot on Hughes Road near Girgaum Chowpatty being redeveloped by Arvindam Developers. The century-old residential building was purchased by Pune-based developer Avinash Bhosale for Rs 150 crore five years ago. A luxury skyscraper in partnership with global glamour brand, Versace, is coming up here.

On the same Hughes Road stretch, two redevelopment projects of Rohan Lifescapes (Pathare Prabhu building and Ajinkya Mansion) are out of CRZ and cleared by the municipal corporation. Builder Haresh Mehta of Rohan Lifescapes told TOI he has another five projects in south Mumbai which benefit because of the bay definition. Near Gamdevi temple, Devtaru Homes LLP redeveloping Kapol Nivas has procured preliminary permission for construction after the plot was removed from CRZ. Yogesh Bhavan (Mesacon Triumph Developers) at Hughes Road and other property on the same road redeveloped by Landmark Shelter too received clearance.

Early in the year 2016, the state coastal management authority, MCZMA, cleared the project by builder Earth Graphic on the ground that the site is beyond the 100m CRZ setback line from Back Bay. The dilapidated tenanted property is on Jagannath Sunkersett Road in Girgaum. The MCZMA had also sought the opinion of the state advocate general, who said the project site was beyond hundred meters of the high tide line.

In July 2014, TOI was the first to report on how the state coastal authority had redefined the Mahim coast as a bay. The developer of a Prabhadevi plot became the first big beneficiary as the bay definition immediately increased the development potential of its plot manifold.

ii) The Prabhadevi plot near the sea is the 5.5 acre Hindoostan Mills, jointly developed by Hubtown and Wadhwa Group. They had announced two 55-storeyed luxury towers, making it the city's first mega building project kissing the sea. But concerned activists said civic infrastructure will be futher burdened. "The issue here is not only the definition of the bay or the distance from the high tide line, but whether these areas have the infrastructure. Will such indiscriminate addition of built space affect the lives of the existing residents adversely? Unless we have satisfactory answers to these questions, the bonanza is likely to be counter-productive," said housing activist and expert Chandrashekhar Prabhu.

Environmentalist Debi Goenka said the 2011 amendment has resulted in a situation where the builder lobby has successfully been able to circumvent the CRZ along the entire west coast of Maharashtra. "The state government should have asked the environment ministry to rectify this mistake," he said. Goenka added, "The project sites are in some of the most congested parts of the city that has poor infrastructure. A huge new project with very high FSI will add to traffic problems and further aggravate air and noise pollution levels, and deprive local residents of their water supply."

After Mahim, it is now builders in south Mumbai who are benefiting from this relaxation in the CRZ norms.

E. It would be pertinent to note that our building is in existence since 1969 whereas BKC was not at all in existence and it came into existence in 1995 after the CRZ notification dated 19.02.1991. We fail to understand, why the MCZMA ignored the blatant violation of the CRZ norms.

F. Last year in Dec 2016, the much-delayed Mumbai Trans Harbour Link - a 22-km road bridge connecting the island city with Navi Mumbai -finally took-off with the Bombay high court granting MMRDA permission to cut mangroves and construct on mangrove plots. The division bench of Justices Vidyasagar Kanade and Nutan Sardessai of Hon’ble High Court at Bombay stated that “We are satisfied the project is a public utility project," (MMRDA) shall comply with all the conditions imposed in the letters of sanction granted by both the authorities (Union environment ministry and the CRZ authority)."

If the Competent Authority would have informed the Builders/ Developers of our colony i.e. Kapadia Nagar, we would not have purchased the flats in the so-called ecological sensitive area. In the said draft Coastal Zone Management Plans (CZMPs) No. E43_A16_SW the red line indicates HTL i.e. High Tide Line. Since 2005 after heavy flood we the residents of Kapadia Nagar and in the nearby vicinity failed to see any High Tides or Low Tides but hardly any ripples in the Mithi River. Everyone is well aware now that, the Bandra-Kurla Complex has been illegally developed in CRZ-I wherein it is illegal to construct in ecological sensitive area. Secondly, when the civic body and the authority can give approvals to the big shot builder/developers and decrease the meters from 500 to 100 then why our building/colony i.e. Kapadia Nagar can’t be redeveloped under CRZ –II zone with more FSI?  

We certainly deserve REDEVELOPMENT, JUSTICE and LIFE from you.

So, considering the above mentioned facts, you may please find our strong Objection on the draft Coastal Zone Management Plans (CZMPs) No. E43_A16_SW and request you for the deletion of the CRZ -2 or decrease it to certain meter from our land under reference, so that our kiths and kins can see brighter future of our Colony and Mumbai City. We the residents of KAPADIA NAGAR, anticipates that our plea and request will be considered by this Authority for the betterment of our Society, Kapadia Nagar colony and Mumbai City. Moreover, you are also requested to give us a hearing before the finalization of draft Coastal Zone Management Plans (CZMPs) No. E43_A16_SW in respect to our strong objection on the same.

Residents of Kapadia Nagar

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