Damodar Tandel, the former head of the Akhil Maharashtra Macchimaar Kruti Samiti (AMMKS), had challenged the environment clearance for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial in the NGT on grounds that the project would damage the environment and impact marine biodiversity
, MumbaiPrayag Arora-Desai
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) this week quashed a 2017 petition by a now-deceased Koli community leader challenging the environment clearance (EC) granted by the Union environment ministry to the Public Works Department (PWD) for the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial. A copy of the Tribunal’s order dated May 11 has been reviewed by the HT.
Damodar Tandel, the former head of the Akhil Maharashtra Macchimaar Kruti Samiti (AMMKS), had challenged the EC on grounds that the project would damage the environment and impact marine biodiversity and consequently the livelihood of fishermen operating near the site, which is 1.2 km southwest of Raj Bhavan and 3.6 km southwest of the Girgaon jetty.
Dismissing the appeal, a Special NGT bench headed by chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel said, “We find that the project is preceded by scientific studies and all environmental safety measures and mitigation measures have been taken based on expert studies.”
Damodar passed away in December 2020 and was succeeded by his son, Devendra Tandel, who is since then serving as the president of the AMMKS.
“Except bald contention about the adverse impact on biodiversity and environment… no meaningful argument has been addressed to point out any infirmity in the process for grant of EC,” the bench said, dubbing the petitioner’s concerns as “ill-founded”.
Speaking to HT, Devendra Tandel said he was unaware of the NGT order passed on May 11. “It is a bit suspicious that the court has not put my father’s death on record. I will have to consult with the lawyer first. As far as our stance on the project is concerned, we are opposed to it. We have seen in the case of Coastal Road project, which also apparently had all environment safeguards in place, that fishermen have been badly affected.”
The construction activities for the memorial were halted in January 2019 after the Supreme Court ordered a stay in response to a petition filed by environmentalists.
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