midc-edForest land in MIDC TTC Industrial area is being grabbed, gobbled up and encroached upon by the land mafia. The reason not hard to guess – developing illegal hutments and then bringing in SRA schemes for feeding the greedy and money hungry land mafia. And we aren’t speaking about a few hectares but forest land spreading on as much as 140 hectares. Not surprisingly, such is the clout of the land mafia on both MIDC and NMMC – the two guardian government offices for the forest land – that no action has been taken against the land grab. As a result industrialists have knocked the doors of the Bombay High Court. Dy Editor Sana Warsia gets you the details as she tries to find the answer to “Is land mafia grabbing forest land at MIDC for SRA projects? When you look at this stretch of forest land, illegally leveled with debris by land mafia for erecting illegal hutments in broad day light; one is forced to believe that there was every reason for Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh to loose his cool over Maharashtra State and call the state anti environmental at a time when such concerns are being echoed and taken seriously world over. This also explains the petition that industrialists of TTC MIDC area of Navi Mumbai have filed against the state for this illegally dumping of tons of debris on forest land and ponds causing permanent ecological, environmental, economic damage besides human loss? What’s more unfortunate? Well, it is the duty of MIDC and NMMC to man such illegal anti environmental activities but clearly they are failing the calls of their duty. That’s why industrialists have gone against MIDC and NMMC and pinned all their hopes of justice; as in innumerable matters, on the Bombay High Court. According to the industrialists, with the blessings of a strong local politician – the forest land in TTC MIDC has been grabbed to erect illegal slums with the sole purpose of bringing in SRA schemes with 4 FSI that will help the politicians – land mafia nexus fetch a huge profit running into hundreds of Crores of Rupees. The matter is very grave in nature – considering that we are talking about 140 hectares of land. These aren’t speculations but facts that the industrialists procured with the help of the common man’s most powerful weapon – the RTI. The politicians – land mafia nexus is so strong that even ponds of MIDC have not been spared and have been filled up to make way for open plots. The continuous encroachment of open space and forest cover has led to threat of flooding to industries that are working in the already hostile conditions at TTC MIDC. What’s worse is that the slums have spread to close to existing industries that in case if a disaster was to occur, fire vehicles would not even find space for movement. When 100 of dumpers were seen dumping debris in forest cover and illegal slums kept coming up everyday, industrialists approached the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation and MIDC but neither of the government agency paid any heed to the seriousness the issue posed. On the contrary soon the fears of industrialists started realizing when advertisements of SRA in the disputed land came up in newspapers. Industrialists have challenged this decision of the state too pointing out that the MID Act does not permit this. Entrepreneurs are crying injustice because in front of their eyes they see slums encroaching forest cover and industrial land while the state says that they have no land to give to existing industries at TTC MIDC area for expansion. At NMMC and MIDC we could see the apathy of affairs as no official was ready to speak to us on the issue. In the many battles that industrialists have taken up against the state, their own battle of survival is perhaps their biggest worry. The recent devastating floods at Punjab, Haryana and Pakistan seem to have taught no lesson to the greedy politicians and bureaucrats. That’s what comes to the mind when ones look at the TTC MIDC area, which portrays a dismal picture of a state government and its neglect for domestic industries and environment. While this case is pending in court for justice – many are watching closely on what Thane Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik and Airoli MLA Sandeep Naik are going to do to stop the broad daylight forest land grab by land mafia in the name of SRA scheme. Unless action is taken grave disaster looms over Navi Mumbai – the state’s most polluted chemical city situated on an earthquake prone zone. With cameraperson Vinayak Dalvi, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.

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