The Sanjay Gandhi National Park is Mumbai’s primary green cover zone, and requires an undisturbed buffer zone of around its perimeter. This has often been violated by encroachments and unlawful land use. The Hon`ble Supreme court had ordered that every National Park and Sanctuary must have an ESZ (Ecologically Sensitive Zone) around it. Despite ten years having passed, the State of Maharashtra had not moved on it.
Vanashakti moved the National Green Tribunal to get the ESZ notified. In January 2016, In 2016, the Ministry of Environment and Forests issued a notification that demarcated an Eco Sensitive Zone around Sanjay Gandhi National Park. This Notification, while ideally seeking to protect the buffer zone from any further development and provide safe ingress and egress out of the National Park during natural calamities, essentially allows for establishment of new infrastructure. Further, it arbitrarily excludes 165 ha. Of ESZ for catering to Metro Car Shed and SRA projects. This absolutely defeats the very purpose of a buffer area.
Vanashakti challenged the notification at the NGT to bring about a more conservationist marking of the buffer zone. This application awaits a final hearing. We have sought an urgent listing of this matter before the Principal Bench, New Delhi to hear the matter through video conferencing expeditiously.