NMC’s ‘commercial plan’ threatens Gorewada greenery?

Nagpur: The Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) could be the only place where outlandish plans could be brewing in the minds of shrewd babus. If reports are to be believed, the ruling party as well as administration could be devising a plan to commercialise a huge land near Gorewada Lake and thus endanger the serene beauty and greenery.

Notably, a centrally located “dam” and nearby land in the Gorewada jungles was handed over to Nagpur city administration by the British. Later, in the 80s and 90s the Congress-NCP Government in the State had transferred the land to Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM). But still, the lake and its nearby area were in possession of Water Works Department of NMC. But now, since BJP is ruling in the NMC and State as well, things started to move in different directions. A BJP supporter-cum-businessman is ‘eying’ the nearby land surround the “dam” for a lucrative commercial venture, most probably a resort. This businessman is now ‘pressuring’ the NMC administration to return back the land to Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra. Once the land is returned to FDCM, it is ‘easier’ to grab the land by hook or crook. Succumbing to the ‘pressure,’ the NMC has now included the proposal in the agenda of General Body Meeting (GBM) which is likely to be held on December 8, just before the commencement of Winter Session.

The green area dates back to British rule. In today’s parlance, it is a heritage site. Britain’s Queen was to undertake a visit to the area hence the government had undertaken a massive drive to plant oxygen-emitting trees in the area. According to older generation, the trees are still alive even after 150-200 years of plantation. Its greenery is seen to be believed.

The jungles spread over hundreds of hectares in Gorewada area is a beautiful sight. The lake adds a serene beauty to the jungles. The environment is pollution free. The Gorewada Lake is clean and pure so much so that the water is still being consumed for drinking purpose. But in recent days, wild animals are being released in the Gorewada Jungles and it is being turned as a Zoo. Many enthusiasts are now enjoying ‘Jungle Safari’ in Gorewada Jungles.

According to NMC plan, after the approval in General Body Meeting, the administration will show the land under 7/12 and hand over the land to FDCM. In return, the FDCM would be giving a land of same size to NMC at Pitasur area. Currently, some of the portions of this land has been ‘settled’ by hutments. The encroachment will be removed and after erecting a security wall, the land would be transferred to NMC. But the pertinent question here is: When the land already belongs to FDCM then where is the question of returning it? Why compensation?

On the other hand, BJP’s senior Corporator Jagdish Gwalvanshi and Congress senior Corporator Harish Gwalvanshi are opposing the proposal tooth and nail. But to prevail upon them, an official of Forest Department named Kale contacted them and ‘appealed’ them not to oppose the ‘deal.’ Kale reportedly told them that FDCM is demanding return of the land for increasing its sources of revenue.

The proposal is likely to create storm in the NMC’s next General Body Meeting. The ruling party could ensure approval to the proposal either on the basis of brute majority or by voice vote amidst uproar.