Sahyadri Mountain range, the pride of Maharashtra and from where Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj started building his empire is being destroyed , excavated and defaced since last some years. Sahyadri mountain range which is also known as the Western Ghats is an important series of high hills. The contribution of this range in weather, environment, defence &; tourism is very vast. However since last some years it is being destroyed. The Marathi Manus who otherwise shows lot of respect for Shivaji Maharaj is silent on this issue, in fact helping the culprits to deface the Sahyadri. However it seems that , now Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority ( PMRDA) has come forward for rescue of Sahyadri mountain. It has served notice to Goodland County, one of the so called proposed Township project at Mugawade ( survey No 111 etc) Near pune for razing unauthorized construction. The Project is totally illegal and has contentious Past.
It is matter of investigation that, how the land which was acquired for tree plantation and forest development got permission of no agriculture use. However earlier in 2008 on behalf of riddhi siddhi tree plantation and forest development co operative society one Rahul Nahar had asked permission for construction related to software industry on this land. As the area was in no development zone no residential or industrial construction was allowed there. Accordingly permission was given to Eiffel infocity for construction related to software industry on condition that
1) land will be developed and used for information Technology ( IT)purpose only.
2) Subdivision and selling of land in plots will not be allowed
3) land except steep slope only will be allowed to develop ( very minor construction was allowed)
4) only 20% land will be developed and on remaining 80% land 500 trees per hector will be planted
As there were large scale of excavation activities using heavy explosives on this mountain this writer (Vijay Kumbhar) complained to the collector Pune . Then tehsildar paud fined them Rs 2 crore 34 lakh for carrying out minor mining and asked for environment clearance .Then the project stopped.
However after some time and without obtaining any permission they started to sell the plots in name of non agriculture plots in the Name of Eiffel Olympia by Eiffel Developers & Realtors Ltd. They also tried to obtain environment clearance, However State environment assessment committee ( SEAC) asked developers to obtain township permission first. Then project proponents informed SEAC that they have given up the proposal to set up a township and submitted a modified proposal to set up an IT project. However committee asked them to carry out necessary changes to the project i.e.
(i) Permission was earlier given by the Registrar of Societies for use of the plot for a society for tree protection. A copy of the permission given by the Registrar for transfer of the land from that purpose to IT may be furnished.
(ii) The permissibility of taking up residential construction on a plot meant for IT may be clarified.
(iii) It may be confirmed whether FSI has been worked out after deducting area having slopes steeper than 1:5.
(iv) Regarding water supply for the project, the project proponent has produced a letter from Dy. Engineer committing water supply. Considering the quantity involved (5000 cubic metres daily), commitment letter may be obtained from a competent authority not below the rank of an Executive Engineer and copy produced.
(v) The number of species of trees should be increased from 6 to at least 30. A typical landscape plan may be submitted.
(vi) The existing dug well may be revived and used for rainwater harvesting.
(vii) A detailed plan for storm water drainage including proposal for disposal of storm water into the nearest Nala may be prepared and submitted.
(viii) A detailed note on EMP may be furnished including the administrative set up. The project proponent may give a commitment to operate the EMP for the period of the project. A note may also be given on e-waste management.
(ix) ( It may be ensured that the recirculate effluent is first used for flushing and the surplus may be used for gardening.
As it was difficult to follow the condition this proposal was also abandoned .However they started selling plot in this project in the name of Goodland County by Eden group. Last year after again noticing large scale excavation on hill and lot of construction activities this writer (Vijay Kumbhar) once again complained to then PMRDA chief Mahesh Zagade. Then special executive officer of PMRDA Annasaheb Chavan then sent a notice to Goodland County and asked for permission for construction they have if any. Goodland county claimed that they have necessary permissions and showed same old documents of Eiffel Infocity. Then building permission department of PMRDA clarified that Goodland county does not have asked for any permission or PMRDA has not given any . Then PMRDA asked Goodland county to remove the construction on their own. After not obeying their directions PMRDA as a last chance and for sake of natural justice has served the notice to Goodland County and asked to produce proof of permission. Failing which PMRDA will remove the constructions and start criminal proceedings against them.
The land on which Good land county is being developed fall in Sahyadri range and is part of western Ghats. As per veteran ecologists Madhav Gadgil the hills of the Western Ghats are important for water security. The Sahyadri range or Western Ghats is ecologically sensitive to development and was declared an ecological hotspot in 1988 through the efforts of ecologist Norman Myers. It is one of the world’s ten hottest biodiversity hotspots. It has 5,000 species of flowering plants, 139 mammal species, 508 bird species and 179 amphibian species. At least 325 of these are globally threatened species. If encroachment on the mountain range continues then we could lose this rich ecological heritage.
It is our duty to save Sahyadri. If you have noticed any illegal construction on it pleas feel free to communicate it on firstname.lastname@example.org
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