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HindustanTimes Thu,02 Oct 2014

Mumbai: Encroachers continue to eat into the Mithi river bed as authorities look away

Nikhil M Ghanekar, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, January 29, 2014
First Published: 22:27 IST(29/1/2014) | Last Updated: 22:29 IST(29/1/2014)

Encroachment and dumping on the banks of Mithi River behind Maharashtra Nature Park Society (MNPS) continues as the revenue department and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) who use the adjacent access road ignore the developments.

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The illegal reclamation began last week with dumping of construction debris on a piece of land spreading across 1 – 1.5 acres on the narrow banks of Mithi River. Now, since Tuesday evening, unidentified persons have used the debris to fill up the banks of the river and its flow towards Mahim and have also begun heaping the place with topsoil, to even for development. On Sunday, HT had highlighted how the construction debris was being dumped in heaps partly on the river’s bank and partly to obstruct its flow that is already heavily silted.

As per law, construction activity or industrial activity is prohibited within 30 meters of a riverbank. The land in question has already seen destruction of dense mangrove cover in 2007.

On Wednesday, the encroachers had used up all the debris to lay a foundation on the river’s narrow Mahim-bound flow. Locals residing in Rajiv Gandhi Nagar slums had informed the MNPS authorities about the encroachments happening in their backyard and they were alarmed by the developments.

“The state authorities need to take action in this matter otherwise this whole plot of land will be utilized for illegal development and to choke the river,” said Avinash Kubal, director, MNPS. Though MMRDA uses the road adjacent to the encroached land for annual de-silting operations, it is the revenue department that is its legal custodian. MMRDA authorities were no-committal about looking into the issue. “We don’t yet know the details of the developments happening on the said plot and we can look into it when we have a clear idea,” said SB Tamsekar, chief engineer, MMRDA.


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