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Finally‚ 18–ACRE JUHU ‘city forest’ project to take off

After 25 years, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will go back to its original plan of providing Mumbai a “city forest” in Juhu and create a vital green lung in the neighbourhood. The plot is adjacent to Vidyanidhi High School at JVPD scheme.
Juhu Beach Last week, the BMC improvements’ committee gave its approval to take possession of an 18-acre plot by cancelling Ronson Foundation’s lease. The civic body now plans to develop it as a city forest. This concept was former municipal commissioner S S Tinaikar’s vision in 1986.
TOI has consistently reported since January 19,
2011, on how citizens made a last-ditch effort to save the plot, after they noticed that only 438 trees remained in the belt out of 1,300.
Juhu citizens recently made a presentation to Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner, by submitting a design plan on how the city forest should be developed.
“We liked the proposal submitted by the citizens and it’s feasible. At present, the patch between Amol Palekar Road and the turning at Irla pumping station will be converted to a 36-metre road. Our officials have done a survey and work is in progress. An SRA scheme is coming up on the stretch. There are mangroves there, so we will map them,” said Gupta.
Ramesh Pawar, assistant commissioner, K (West) Ward, said the BMC will develop this plot with the help of Juhu citizens.
The design plan includes growing a forest alongside the Irla nullah, building walking and cycling tracks, introducing cultural spaces such as a small amphitheatre, an art exhibition centre, children’s play area and a garden. “While this plan is only for Juhu, it is an idea that can be replicated for all 15 nullahs and three rivers and essentially all water bodies. This is an idea for greening and protecting water bodies from dumping and encroachments,” said architect P K Das, who prepared the plan.
“There have been dubious attempts to destroy the plot reserved for the city forest and taking over the land for commercial interests,” said Ashoke Pandit, member, Gulmohur Area
Societies’ We l f a re Group.

Source: Agu 12, 2011 , TNN