Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Navi Mumbai airport ignores climate resilience

Anjali Dhamale of Chinchpada village is a worried woman. Her household of 11 people that makes a living by growing rice and rearing fish and poultry is one of the many hundreds of families who will be uprooted because of the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA).

The people of Chinchpada village would be resettled in a proposed township named Pushpak Nagar at Dapoli, some 0.5km from the boundary of the upcoming airport. “For generations, we have been farmers,” says Dhamale. “But now we will have to learn new skills and live in an alien environment.” Similar worries are echoed by residents of project-affected villages of Kombadbhuj, Targhar, Ganeshpuri and Ulwe.

Located 40 km to the east of Mumbai on India’s west coast in the Kovar-Panvel area in Navi Mumbai, the airport will displace some 3,500 families living in 10 villages. The affected people have long resisted land acquisition and demanded improved rehabilitation assistance. The project, first conceived more than 20 years ago, has been repeatedly delayed also because of environmental concerns.

Beside dislocation of human habitations leading to loss of livelihoods, the site that encompasses 121 hectares of forest, 162 ha of mangroves and 404 ha of mudflats will be concretised, destroying a unique wildlife habitat. The Bombay High Court in 2005 stopped the government of Maharashtra from any further deforestation of mangroves forest and in 2012 banned the conversion of wetlands in the western province.

The wetlands ecosystem attracts a large number of migratory birds and houses a number of species of crabs, fish and molluscs. Acting as a barrier to waves from eroding land in the interior, these are now in danger of destruction and under extreme threat from coastal developmental activities.
21/11/18 Hiren Kumar Bose/India Climate Dialogue