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Ashish Shelar slams Congress for promising to reverse CRZ rules

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Apr 15, 2019, 2:17 am IST
Updated : Apr 15, 2019, 2:17 am IST

Terms move anti-Mumbaikar, says his party in favour of inclusive, holistic development.

BJP Mumbai chief Ashish Shelar at The Asian Age office. (Photo: RAJESH JADHAV)
 BJP Mumbai chief Ashish Shelar at The Asian Age office. (Photo: RAJESH JADHAV)

Mumbai: BJP Mumbai president Ashish Shelar has slammed the Congress' manifesto for mentioning the reversal of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules amended by the saffron party in 2018.

Terming the Congress'’ move anti-Mumbaikar, Mr Shelar, in a special talk with The Asian Age on Friday, claimed, “The Modi government issued a new CRZ notification that says that in CRZ-II area, you will have the facility of development and redevelopment. So, all provisions in prevailing development control rules will be applicable to CRZ areas. The particular provision will benefit the 2.30 lakh slums, 10,000 housing societies and 5,000 dilapidated buildings, which are on CRZ-II area for redevelopment. The Modi government also gave rights to the state government for the redevelopment of these structures by providing FSI.”

However the draft notification was opposed by environmentalists who claimed that it would expose the coastline to development. Asked about the fishermens' apprehensions over development in CRZ 3 (rural and fishermen villages), Mr Shelar defended the move. “There has always been a debate between environmental protection and infrastructure development, and all over the world and one has to take a call. When I visited Indiana in the US back in 2008, there was the same debate going on over whether or not to bridge a river. The BJP is in favour of inclusive development. Our approach is to have development by not touching the fishing community's land, job and culture, for which power has been given to the local administration,”he said.

Asked whether the party could ensure that no commercialisation would happen in these areas, he said, “If you go worldwide, how many countries have the CRZ. If you go to Phuket airport, you will see that you are landing in the sea. Even in Dubai, they are creating a city in the sea. So we need to have holistic development where the environment needs to be protected. But why (not bring about the) development of beaches and tourism, although with certain restrictions?”

Even though the BJP mentioned river rejuvenation via regular cleanup drives based on community participation in its manifesto, it was the state government that had in 2015 scraped the river rejuvenation policy. Asked about other factors like creating buffer zones besides rivers, sand mining and discharge of effluents, Mr Shelar said, “The BJP believes in doing ground work on rivers for which we have started programmes like Namami Gange and the Chandrabhaga project. As far as discharge of effluents and garbage is concerned, over the time we have become habituated with a certain lifestyle, which is why we started Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. We are trying to educate the masses and create awareness. It has good very good response, not just in terms of building toilets but the message of no to 'aswachhta', everybody from rural to urban people is putting their bits towards cleanliness. So we have the will, the policies, the people on ground and gradually we will achieve the goal.”

While Mr Shelar stated that the BJP believes in fast deliverance of development, it was pointed out that citizens and activists have taken the legal way alleging destruction of green spaces due to metro work. “The speed of work will be affected by the court proceedings. That is why we are appealing to citizens not to delay development. At one place, you complain government has not done any development and other side you oppose and object to every work,” he said.

Asked about opposition to the Metro car 3 shed in Aarey colony, he stated, “The alternative site for the Metro depot was not feasible. We welcome the people's suggestions and objections but we have to decide what is possible in the present situation. The government's stand is very clear: we want development. Time and again the authorities have clarified that if one tree is cut, three more will be planted. If the people disbelieve, that does not mean I should not try to do good work. I will do good work and prove myself right. There is some flare due to wrong information, we are pursuing them and will provide the right information.”

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Tags: ashish shelar, coastal regulation zone, congress manifesto