NAGPUR: The greens' fears have come true. The Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) has again put up a proposal to convert 464.31 acres acquired for sewage disposal projects into a concrete jungle. The proposal is based on applications from a couple of builders, seeking to change the user to 'residential'. Besides, the proposal is being considered even though Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) badly requires land for sewage collection and treatment.
The proposal was tabled at the meeting of NIT board of trustees on Monday. The board postponed the decision on the proposal to the next meeting due to large number of proposals on the agenda. Interestingly, the NIT administration brought the proposal as a table agenda once again, and not part of the agenda issued a few days before the meeting.
The agenda says NIT has in its possession 232.71 of the 464.31 acre land since 1955. The remaining 231.60 acre land had been allotted to the persons from whom it was acquired on lease for 30 years to cultivate. However, NIT had never prepared a proposal to change the user of the land from drainage and sewage disposal to residential for such a long time.
The first proposal to change user of 44.61 of the total 231.60 acre land was prepared and tabled before the NIT board in June 2013 after an application from two builders. This proves that NIT started to take interest in the user change only on the urging of builders.
Following an expose by TOI, and strong opposition by greens, including Vidarbha Environmental Action Group (VEAG), the NIT board rejected the proposal. However, the proposal was tabled again before the board with some changes. Them, the proposal had to be taken back due to ownership issues. Now, NIT has proposed to change the user of the entire 464.31 acre land.
After the NIT board's consent, the proposal will be sent for the approval of the state government followed by change in user. If okayed by the government, the lease holders of 231.60 acre land will become absolute owners and can utilize it for residential purposes. NIT can also construct or allot its 232.71 acre land for residential purposes.
Unfortunately, the proposal has been mooted by NIT despite the land being ideal for collection of entire sewage flowing in Pora river, followed by treatment in the sprawling space. The land is situated at mouza Gonhi (Sim) on city's outskirts towards South Nagpur, right on Umrer road along the Pora river.
NMC is struggling to get space for construction of decentralized sewage collection and treatment system especially for South Nagpur. Due to lack of land, the civic body is constructing sewage treatment plants in one location at Bhandewadi and planning to bring sewage water from South Nagpur to Bhandewadi, which is in East Nagpur.
Surprisingly, NMC has been silent on the issue, despite the fact that it can get all the land at a very low price. NIT chairman Pravin Darade was not available for comment.