MUMBAI: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) last week submitted the city's new coastal zone management plan (CZMP) to the state environment department after an 18-month delay. Activists said the new plan, once it comes into effect, will make it difficult for the government to favour builders who had sought permission for projects.
Developers had approached the Bombay high court in the case of projects affected by bays (like Mahim and Backbay) in Mumbai. The court had criticized the inordinate delay in preparing the plan and in several cases directed the coastal zone authority to sanction them without delay.
Activists have criticized repeated extensions granted for the plan, accusing the government of favouring the builders' lobby. "Once the new plan comes into force, it will be difficult to grant permission as the high tide line has been defined more accurately. The government has allowed the plan to be delayed so that all proposals that are likely to be controversial are cleared,'' said D Stalin, director of the NGO Vanashakti.
The 2006 CZMP expired on January 31 after several extensions. The environment department has sought another six-month extension. The new plan may take nine months to be finalized, sources said.
The city's CZMP will soon be published in newspapers and uploaded on the BMC and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board websites. Citizens can study the plans and send objections and suggestions, sources said. The plan has been prepared by the Institute of Remote Sensing Chennai. "These will be put up before the Maharashtra coastal zone management authority. After it is approved by the authority, it will be sent to the Union ministry of environment for final approval,'' the sources said.