Mumbai Congress president Milind Deora today said the Maharashtra government is permitting development at the cost of environment and described as unfortunate the plan to raze over 50,000 mangroves for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project.
He said the BJP-led government's infrastructure development plans are "indiscriminate".
In a statement here, Mr Deora said, "Earlier serious questions were raised over the financial viability of the (Mumbai-Ahmedabad) bullet train project.
"Now the state government says 54,000 mangroves will be razed for it. It seems that we have forgotten the lessons of the 2005 deluge (in Mumbai). This is extremely unfortunate.
"We are all for development but not indiscriminate development that puts the city of Mumbai and Mumbaikars at grave risk," the former Union minister said. Coastal road, salt pan lands and now the bullet train project - in all three cases "the government seems to be perilously and recklessly permitting development at the cost of environment and this can be very dangerous", he said.
Mr Deora said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis should intervene and ensure that natural buffers like mangroves and salt pan lands are protected.
The Congress leader's reaction was in response to Transport Minister Diwakar Raote statement in the Legislative Council that Maharashtra will soon lose 54,000 mangroves to pave the way for the bullet train project. It is a well-documented fact that mangroves help prevent flooding, especially in low-lying areas, he said.
Given the impact of climate change and rising sea levels, it will be no surprise if Mumbai gets submerged in case of heavy rains like in 2005, Mr Deora cautioned.
The Mumbai Congress president said the government seems to have forgotten the lessons of the 2005 deluge when nearly 500 people died due to heavy flooding.
Due to the massive floods, the metropolis had incurred losses of Rs 28 billion and the Mumbai airport was submerged for three consecutive days, the former MP said.
A 2014 study, titled ''Mangroves for Coastal Defence'', says the dense roots of these trees help bind and build soils and are an essential, natural defence to flooding apart from keeping pollution levels down, he said.
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